It is an event that has yet to be announced, but plenty of people think they know who the next pope will be. They are the punters using an Irish-based Web site, which has Dionigi Tettamanzi, archbishop of Milan, the favourite to succeed Pope John Paul II at odds of 2-1.
Archbishop Tettamanzi, 70, has staying power: he was joint second favourite back in December 2002, according to the Web site, www.paddypower.com, run by Irish bookmaker Paddy Power. In the current list, the next most likely choices for pope are seen as Claudio Hummes, 70, of Sao Paulo, Brazil, at 5-2 and Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, 67, of St. Cristobal (Havana), Cuba, at 11-2.
Paddy Power defended the wagers as “just a little fun.” He has also given odds (1000-1) on Father Dougal McGuire, a fictional priest from the British television series, Father Ted.