The odds of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI living out his days at the Playboy mansion are small, but not so small that some bookmakers won't lay odds on it.
Enter Paddy Power, the ambitious Irish bookmaker who have posted odds for just about any scenario playing out in the Vatican. Recent developments in the Holy See have included Benedict's dramatic resignation and the news that the church has unwittingly purchased Europe's biggest gay bathhouse in Rome. With odds like that, stranger things coming to light don't look unlikely.
The world has just been introduced to Pope Francis, but that hasn’t stopped Paddy Power from posting odds on whether he will resign. And according to the International Business Times, the odds aren’t as high as you might think.
Currently Paddy Power is offering 5-to-2 odds that Francis will follow in Benedict’s footsteps and resign. Francis, 76, is the former archbishop of Buenos Aires. With his election to the papacy, he became the first Jesuit to hold the office, and first pope to hail from the Americas.
Disturbingly, Paddy Power has also listed odds that in 2013 the Catholic Church will see three popes. Those odds, at 16-to-1, reportedly take into account whether Francis will resign or die by the end of the year.
Paddy Power also feels the frontrunner for the nation Bergoglio will visit on his first trip abroad as pope is his native land (the bookmaker is giving 5/6 odds that his first foreign visit will be Argentina).
The world's media are focusing on Pope Francis at the moment, but Paddy Power hasn’t forgotten his German predecessor.
Pope Emeritus Benedict has confirmed he will retire to Mater Ecclesiae, a monastery in Vatican City, but Paddy Power still sees some other lively possibilities for the ex-pontiff's retirement home.
The most unlikely choice, but the one with the biggest payout, lists the notorious Playboy Mansion at 1,000-to-1 odds of Benedict taking up residence with Hugh Hefner.
Other long shots include Benedict’s native Germany at 12-to-1, Italy at 14-to-1, Rome at 14-to-1 and Spain at 16-to-1.
Ever prepared for any circumstance, Paddy Power also listed the chances that U2 frontman Bono will be the next pontiff at 1,000-to-1. Surprisingly the bookmakers think that evolutionary biologist and staunch atheist Richard Dawkins, at 600-to-1, has a better chance of wearing the red shoes than the man in the wrap around sunglasses.
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