Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources





Bookies taking bets on the next Pope

CWN reports English Catholics and Protestants alike have attacked as "tasteless and immoral" those bookmakers who are offering odds on which cardinal will succeed Pope John Paul II. The news agency says

The current favorite with the bookmakers Paddy Power and Betfair is Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, the archbishop of Milan.

Bettors are also offered odds of 2 to 1 on Archbishop Tettamanzi with Paddy Power, which is based in Ireland and London, and 37 to 13 with Betfair, an online company.

Bishop Thomas McMahon of Brentwood told the Sunday Telegraph such betting was "not acceptable or moral."

He added: "The present Pope is still alive and is very strong - to speculate on what will happen after his death is distasteful. Besides, the Holy Spirit can choose the most unexpected candidates."

Martyn Eden, a director of the Evangelical Alliance, said: "This betting is so grossly tatty and tasteless. The outcome of the next papal election is of enormous international significance. We should be praying for the right choice, not looking to make money from it."

Bookmaker Paddy Power insisted that offering odds on the next pope was "in the public interest." A spokesman for Betfair told the newspaper: "We respond to customer demands and at the moment we have received more requests than complaints."

William Hill, one of Britain's largest bookmakers, said that it would not open a book, on the grounds of taste. A spokesman said, "You can't resign from the papacy, so it is hardly the same as betting on a football manager's job."

Copyright 2004 Domus Enterprises. All rights reserved.
CWN - Outrage at papal election bookmaking

28 Jan 2004