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Pope tipped for Nobel Peace Prize

Despite a last minute shift of opinion towards former Czech president Vaclav Havel, Pope John Paul II is tipped to be named winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize at 7:00 pm tonight Sydney time.

National Catholic Reporter publisher Tom Fox suggests there is no doubt the Pope will be named.

"You heard it here first," he said in Thursday's online opinion feature. "In less than 24 hours Pope John Paul II will be declared the winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize!"

But Alice Springs-based betting website Centrebet gave John Paul 2-1 odds of winning the prize, ahead of Havel (8-1), who received this year's Gandhi Peace Prize. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was given 14-1 odds, while Afghan leader Hamid Karzai had 25-1 odds.

Observers believe Pope John Paul II will be cited for his repeated appeals for peace throughout his quarter-century reign, but particularly his pleas for peace during the period leading up to the Iraq war.

In the months leading up to the Iraq war Pope John Paul spoke out vehemently against the notion of "pre-emtive strike" and "preventive war," arguing the notion upsets a fragile international consensus against first strikes.

The pontiff has been nominated on numerous occasions, but has never won the full support of the Nobel committee, which has rarely awarded the prize to religious figures. Exceptions include Mother Teresa of Calcutta in 1979, Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 1984, the Dalai Lama in 1989 and Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo in 1996.

In recent days speculation has grown in Italy that this might be the pope's year. Italy's premier daily, Corriere della Sera, devoted half a page to an article outlining reasons why the ailing pope should get the prize.

The Vatican has stated that the Holy Father, despite his deteriorating health, would attend the prize giving ceremony in Oslo on 10 December in the event of his being awarded the prize.

National Catholic Reporter
AP/Aberdeen News

Nobel E-Museum
Pope the bookie's favourite for peace prize (The Age)
Bookies tip Pope for prize (BBC)
Pope Favourite to Win Nobel Peace Prize (The Scotsman)
As anticipation mounts, many wonder if pope will win Nobel Peace Prize; Havel also a contender (AP/San Francisco Chronicle)
Pope, Brazilian president tipped for Nobel Prize (Dawn)

Pope asks Filipino bishops to promote chastity (Catholic World News)
Papal exhortation for laity of Eastern Europe (Catholic World News)

10 Oct 2003