Who Will Be the Next Pope?

Black smoke is seen from the roof of the Sistine Chapel.
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Black smoke is seen from the roof of the Sistine Chapel.

Just moments after Pope Benedict XVI announced that he will retire on Feb. 28, online bookmaker Paddy Power opened betting on his successor.

By far and away the market favorite is Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, whose odds are 3-1 right now. The election of a North American as Pope would mark the first time the conclave of Cardinals has looked beyond Europe for the Catholic church's top position.

Behind Ouellet are two Africans, Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana at 7-2 and Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria at 4-1. The odds for Cardinal Leonardo Sandri of Argentina are running at 6-1.

In other words, four non-Europeans are leading the top European contenders, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi and fellow Italian Archbishop Angelo Scola, both at 8-1. The bettors, at least, seem to think that the cardinals are ready to be led by someone from outside of Europe.

Over at Business Insider, Michael Brendan Dougherty has an extensive discussion of the various likely candidates for future pope, including the folks discussed above.

Click here for Paddy Power's odds, (subject to change).

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