Games of chance (card games, etc.) or wagers are not in themselves contrary to justice. They become morally unacceptable when they deprive someone of what is necessary to provide for his needs and those of others. the passion for gambling risks becoming an enslavement. Unfair wagers and cheating at games constitute grave matter, unless the damage inflicted is so slight that the one who suffers it cannot reasonably consider it significant.
When I bet (which is rarely) I generally fix the limit at one pint, which I nowadays set at £4.
Whilst I have not made any bet on the next Pope (which I, and everyone else, could do in perfect good conscience, see above), I must say I am tempted to add one (or two) pints to the event.
Paddy Power has, as I write, here the betting page about the new Pope. Surprisingly for me, Turkson still leads the race. I am not a bookmaker, but I suspect what the people at paddy Power want is an army of people putting their three or five pound for the excitement of the “Black Pope”. I honestly think the odds are too much in the bookmaker’s favour.
If memory serves, the day Pope Benedict resigned Paddy Power had Cardinal Scola 11 to 1. I missed the occasion to bet then, because I simply forgot. A couple of days later (when they had started to read the Italian newspapers) Cardinal Scola was quoted a disastrous 11/7, basically an invitation to give them some money with which you don’t know what to do.
But today is different, with bets on three Cardinals offering interesting quotes: Ouellet at 7/1, Bagnasco at 9/1 and Scola already improving to a more inviting 4/1.
I am pleased to see “hug a heretic”/”protect-a-fag”-Schoenborn is in eight place, at a rather sceptic 20/1. Whilst the man is my nightmare scenario, I frankly do not think he has any chances in the real world; that is, outside of dissident wannabe catholic rags like the “Tablet” and, obviously, homos. A category, this one, which one would think will be totally absent from the Conclave, though recent events actually do not invite to much tranquility in this respect.
Other bets are either funny or meant to take money out of the uninformed. Richard Dawkins is at… 666/1, which is a very evident Christian joke on him (though with much truth in it). Still, if Paddy Power were to really take real money for real bets on him, this would seem to me a criminal abuse of public credulity.
Almost funnier is Archbishop Mueller at 200/1, and it’s fair to say this yogurt will get sour. Even Bono has a quote of 100/1, and one wonders how much money Paddy Power makes on bets like these, and how drunk are those who make them.
Cardinal Policarpo (already tired and emotional on so-called wymyn priests; then forced to retract but, it is fair to say, still a disgrace to his habit) is given at a sporty 100/1, and so is a funny guy some people believe to be a Catholic, Cardinal Lehmann, one of the many Germans Cardinals who lead you to doubt of the mental sanity of the Popes who gave them a red hat.
Cardinal Murphy- O’Connor is given at 150/1, but he will get zero votes as he cannot take part to the Conclave himself. Even Archbishop Vincent “Quisling” Nichols, one who would have loved to see himself all in red entering the Sistine Chapel, is given better chances, though his name is clearly there because he is known by hearsay to most Brits who have no clue how his chances stand (answer: not much better than Dawkins’).
Sadly, Cardinal Burke, who is a real tough guy, is nowhere to be seen; which means either Paddy Power are scared of taking bets or, more probably, he is nowhere as far as election chances are concerned, too.
I will monitor the situation carefully in the days leading to the conclave, as the odds might also be an indication of how the perceptions have shifted. IN case of Bagnasco’s victory, it would be beautiful to have the Brunello bottle paid for by Paddy Power. Bagnasco is, among those given as papabili (again, Burke is nowhere to be… read), my very first choice, followed by Scola. I very much fear the election of Ouellet, who in my eyes would be another Pope Benedict; which, if true, would – I think – spell disaster.
At 7/1 he might be a good bet, though I am sure it would be a sad victory.