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Bookies put their odds on Pope Francis to win the Nobel Peace Prize

Pope Francis during a homily he delivered in Sibari, Italy, on June 21, 2014.

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis is tipped to win this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, according to some of the world’s leading bookmakers.

Pope Francis told Mafia members they "are excommunicated" from the Catholic Church during a homily he delivered in Sibari on June 21, 2014.

Creative Commons image by Christoph Wagener

Pope Francis during a homily he delivered in Sibari, Italy, on June 21, 2014.

The Argentinian pope is currently the 5-2 favorite to win the award, which will be announced by the Nobel Institute in Oslo, Norway, on Friday (Oct. 10), according to British bookmaker William Hill. Irish bookmaker Paddy Power also considers him a leading contender.

The pontiff’s odds have fallen from 11-4 in a sign of his worldwide popularity.

“When the odds get shorter, that’s when you sit up and pay attention,” said Jon Ivan-Duke, spokesman for William Hill. “Maybe there’s some divine inspiration at work.”

Nevertheless, Francis is facing stiff competition from National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

“Snowden has created as many fans as critics and would be a rather controversial choice,” said Ivan-Duke.

But the pope is also facing a late challenge from Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani who survived a near-fatal shooting by the Taliban on her way to school in 2012.

When the brutal attack provoked an international outcry, Islamic clerics in Pakistan issued a fatwa against her attackers, but the Taliban reaffirmed its intent to kill Yousafzai as she recovered in the U.K.

Now a human rights activist, Yousafzai has seen her odds halved from 20-1 to 10-1 but the pope is still ahead of her.

“The betting suggests Pope Francis is in pole position to win the Nobel Peace Prize — he’s the hot ticket,” said Ivan-Duke. “However, there’s a late gamble on last year’s favorite, Yousafzai, and she could be a real challenger to the Holy Father.”

Since he was elected in March 2013, the Jesuit pontiff has called for peace in areas of conflict including Iraq, Syria and Ukraine.

The 77-year-old was also outspoken on his visit to the Middle East this year calling for an end to the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians and praying beside the controversial concrete wall that separates Jerusalem from Bethlehem.

In June, he hosted a high-level prayer summit between Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and pressed Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu to scale back attacks during this summer’s bloody conflict in Gaza.

KRE/AMB HT END McKENNA

About the author

Josephine McKenna

Josephine McKenna has more than 30 years' experience in print, broadcast and interactive media. Based in Rome since 2007, she covered the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and election of Pope Francis and canonizations of their predecessors. Now she covers all things Vatican for RNS.

15 Comments

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  • The ONLY source of worldwide peace will be God’s kingdom or heavenly government that will soon put an end to all human governments (Daniel 2:44), all wicked ones on the planet (Psalm 37:10,11), as well as an end to all the terrible conditions we now face (Isaiah 11:1-9; Revelation 21:3,4). This will be accomplished during the 1,000-yr. rule, of which Jesus is King.

    The Pope is evidently not promoting God’s kingdom as the only hope for mankind, but is putting his trust in imperfect men and rulers.

    As God’s Word tells us: “Do not put your trust in princes nor a son of man, who cannot bring salvation.” (Psalm 146:3)

  • It’s an inane bauble (given over the years to a long string of dignitaries implicated in international chin-wags and scrap o’ paper treaties of dubious utility, diplomatic mediators of the crisis du jour, and such worthies as Woodrow Wilson, Linus Pauling in his political crank phase, Le Duc Tho, International [dupe] Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, fabulist Rigoberto Menchu, Albert Gore, and Barack Obama.

    That being the case, it’s the perfect gift for Francis (“for his efforts at cold calling random individuals and giving them strange pastoral counsel”).

  • Is… this a thing people really place bets on?? Or are these bookies just logic nerds like me who like to calculate probabilities for fun??

  • Pope Frankie wouldn’t be the worst recipient. (take your pick, mine is Yassir Arafat) But he would have to beat out a teenage girl to do it. That just seems a little mean.

    The real awards are the science ones anyway.

    The Nobel Prize award money was very useful in enabling many scientists to flee the Nazis just before WWII. (Such as Manhattan Project notables Enrico Fermi, Eugene Paul Wigner)

  • POPE FRANCIS tells us to love this man:
    “I shot and killed my son for your personal benefit” – Yahweh

    “I was shot because I am a little girl trying to go to school. I must be brave.” – Malala Yousufzai

    The first is an endorsement to GOD SANCTIONED MURDER!
    the second is cry for peace and reason!

    The idea that blundering superstitious dunderhead bedecked in white curtains could match the beauty and grace of this brilliant child is itself an outrage and an assault on humanity!

  • @Fran,

    “I shot my son and I killed him for your personal benefit – because it was the only way I could figure out how to save humanity” – God

    It is 2014, not 1420.
    Primitive nonsense must go. This Jesus story has always been insane and revolting beyond words but it is time to stand up and be responsible and stop promoting God-sanctioned murder.

    You have the right to believe it if you want to, but understand what it is you are promoting. Jesus Christ mythology is a blood-sacrifice story, it is cruel and almost all of it is clearly made up.

    Please stop endorsing God’s murder of his son and calling it “Our ONLY hope”. It is too twisted to contemplate.

  • Max,

    This world has gone completely crazy and twisted… That’s why God’s kingdom will put an end to the madness.

    Jesus is the King of God’s kingdom, and Jesus was willing to sacrifice his perfect body (for all imperfect mankind), showing his intense love for God and us humans.

    I appreciate the fact that by that ransom sacrifice and Jesus’ millenial rule, our sin and imperfection will be done away with. That means everlasting life on a paradise earth and complete brotherhood of man.

    Many thousands of men have lost their lives as soldiers for various reasons, such as political or religious, but there is not one perfect man on earth now that can die and take our sins away.

    The perfect man, Jesus, saw the whole purpose; but it is evident that you do not see or appreciate it; and Jesus was resurrected back to life 3 days after his death by Yahweh, his Father.

    Besides that, it was Jewish religious leaders who put Jesus to death. Pontius Pilate gave them the choice of letting Jesus go free, or Barabbas, a notarious criminal. You know who was released.

    I will continue to preach the good news of God’s kingdom as the only hope to others, even if faced with persecution or prison.

  • @Fran,

    “This world has gone completely crazy and twisted..”

    Not according to most sociologists such as Steven Pinker.
    We have never seen a period in all world history of so much peace and prosperity as the present time.

    Furthermore, the least religious countries remain the happiest and the most peaceful.

    Please allow evidence to play at least some role.

  • Yeah! The pope, purveyor-in-chief of the nasty, bigoted Catholic god fraud, did not win.

    Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi are the latest winners of the Nobel Peace Prize.Congratulations to them both.

  • Again, you should leave theology to those who are learned in the subject. Again you are arguing against an interpretation that no one believes in. Congrats!! Everyone agrees with the idea that a god killing it’s children is bad. And no one thought it was good to begin with.

    As for crucifixion interpretation you have two camps: Trinitarians and Non-Trinitarians (who are mostly non-Christians who incorporate Jesus (PBUH) into their faith).

    Trinitarians believe Jesus (PBUH) was literally god. Meaning it’s not murdering your son, its self-sacrifice.

    Non-Trinitarians have more varied beliefs, some believing the crucifixion never happened (Islam’s view), while others believed that Jesus’ martyrdom was not God’s will, but an act of man once again killing a prophet.

    Very few people believe both the idea that the crucifixion was God’s will AND the idea that God and Jesus (PBUH) are separate individuals.

    Congrats on debunking yet another belief that practically no one held though.

  • @Fourth,

    “you should leave theology to those who are learned in the subject.”

    And who might that be?

    Theology is the art of determining the style of hat is most favored by leprechauns, without having a leprechaun to talk to.

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