Gambling on the next pope of the Roman Catholic Church is on track to draw millions of dollars in bets and become the biggest non-sporting event in the history of Ireland's leading bookmaker Paddy Power, which said on Wednesday that America's Cardinal Sean O'Malley is now a "serious contender" for the papacy.
In an interview with The Christian Post on Wednesday, Paddy Power spokesman Rory Scott said even with stiff competition from the royal wedding and the expected royal baby from Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, pope betting is on track to set a record for betting on non-sporting event.
"We'd be comfortable saying it's a million dollar market and certainly it's on track to be the biggest non-sporting event in Paddy Power's history," said Scott. "I think pope betting has really captured people's imagination," he added. more >>
A group of survivors of sexual abuse by clergy have identified 12 cardinals who are currently a candidate for pope in the Roman Catholic Church that have the worst history when it comes to responding to child sex abuse claims.
SNAP, the Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests, told media on Wednesday that it was basing its list on news reports, legal filings and victims' statements.
"The single quickest and most effective step would be for the next pope to clearly discipline, demote, denounce and even defrock cardinals and bishops who are concealing child sex crimes. We think that's the missing piece," said SNAP Executive Director David Clohessy. more >>
Nearly six in ten American Catholics believe it would be a good thing for the Catholic Church if the next pope allows priests to get married, according to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center in February.
The study, which examined the attitudes of American Catholics as they look forward to welcoming a new pope, showed overall that Catholics were divided on the direction they would like their new leader to take the church. Just over half, 51 percent, of American Catholics feel that the new pope should maintain the church's current traditions, while 46 percent feel the church should go in a new direction.
Among traditions that Catholics would like to see retired is the required vow of celibacy for priesthood. According to the study, approximately six-in-ten, or 58 percent, of Catholics say it would be a good thing for the Catholic Church if priests are allowed to marry if they wish to do so. Some 35 percent of Catholics say it is a bad idea. The majority of Catholics supporting the idea attend mass less than once a week. more >>
Religion rarely dominates global news headlines, but Pope Benedict's resignation has proven a notable exception. The mainstream media, usually reluctant to focus on matters of faith, is watching and reporting with fascination as the Roman Catholic Church faces a historic and unprecedented transition. Thursday's coverage was particularly striking, as commentators repeatedly stated – in tones ranging from intellectual curiosity to intense anguish – that "the papacy is vacant" and "the seat of Saint Peter is empty" and "the church around the world is without a leader."
Social media is also flooded with analysis of these developments, and the official papal twitter account (@Pontifex), is even listed as "Sede Vacante." For the estimated 1.4 billion Catholics around the world, there does seem to be a sudden void. Some are responding with doubt and despair as the Catholic Church has encountered many tumultuous challenges in recent years, and others express anticipation and hope that a new Pope will usher in a renewed vision for the Vatican.
But amidst all the speculation, perhaps this is valuable time for Catholics – and for all of us who claim the name of Christ – to reflect and be reminded that there is indeed a leader who is always on His throne. A leader whose supremacy and sufficiency and strength are never in question. A leader who is seated in Heaven, and – even at this moment – is interceding to God the Father on our behalf. more >>
As the world bids a final adieu to Pope Benedict XVI and Conclave is called to elect a successor, I am reminded that the state of our world mandates the appointment of a successor who will display similar strengths of conviction. The theological and moral conviction displayed by Benedict in the Papal office should be a lesson for Christian leaders worldwide, and is needed by the next Catholic leader as well.
We live in a world that has shifted: In America, whereas we were once a nation that largely believed in God and lived according to Judeo-Christian principles of morality, we are now mired in the chaos and confusion of postmodernism, and with it, moral relativism. This shift in worldview has been embraced by much of the country, and I believe has led to the incremental but tangible decay of our culture.
Christian leaders have warned of the results for years, though unnoticed by much of the public (and even by church goers, who might have done more, and sooner, to stem the rising tides of relativism, secularism, and hedonism). Now, years of spiritual and moral drift have coalesced into an America that is on the brink of financial ruin and spiritual ruin. Excess and gluttony in most areas of life, and a culture in which "self is supreme" have resulted in isolation, loneliness, and spiritual emptiness for a great many people. more >>
With his resignation nearing, Pope Benedict XVI will soon be given the new title of "Pope Emeritus" and adhere to a newly created set of specific rules outlining the details of his retirement.
The last time a pope resigned from the position of the Bishop of Rome was in the 15th century with Pope Gregory XII. Given the scarcity of previous examples, officials at the Vatican have laid out what the soon-to-be former pontiff will do, where he will live, and even what he will wear.
Benedict XVI will be dubbed "pope emeritus" to reflect his former position. However, he will still be referred to as "His Holiness," a common term used for the pope. more >>