Odds offered by William Hill indicate that the bookies believe there is a high likelihood of the next Roman Catholic Pope being black.
The sports betting company have Ghanian hopeful Cardinal Peter Turkson as the favorite for next Pope at 5/1. If the odds transpire in his favor, Cardinal Turkson will make history as the first ever black Pope to serve at the Vatican.
The revelation displays a shift in mentalities amongst the papacy, which has chosen almost exclusively white, European popes for the past two millennia. Five years ago, just before the present Pope Jorge Francis of Argentina was elected, Cardinal Turkson was also in the running along with fellow black candidate Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria. At the time, Paddy Power had Cardinal Turkson at 3/1 to win.
While there have been a few instances of black candidates for the position of pope in the past, this year is the first time a black candidate has the highest likelihood of being elected. Runners-up to Cardinal Turkson are Filipino Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle at 6/1, with Italian Cardinal Angelo Scola and Canadian Cardinal Marc Armand Ouellet at 7/1.
One of the possible reasons for Turkson’s growing popularity amongst the inner-circle of the Vatican is his archaic views on homosexuality which align better with those of the Church. In the past, he has been known for making inflammatory comments suggesting there is probably a good reason for the discrimination against homosexuals in Africa. If elected, he may well undo the work Pope Francis has done to help improve the Church’s feelings on the matter.
However, the odds don’t necessarily mean we’ll be seeing a black Pope on the Vatican steps anytime soon. While current presiding Pope Francis did mention early in his term that he didn’t believe the papacy was a job for life, he also hasn’t made any specific reference to departing soon.
After ten years working for trading and brokerage firms in the city of London, Mark is now a freelance journalist and writer for various finance and technology publications. In between reading up on the latest developments in fintech, he spends his time traveling the world by bicycle.