A Day of Mourning & Speculation

Saturday, Aug. 12, 1978

Pope Paul Passes through ‘Door of Death’ (UPI)

Faithful Give Pope a Final Tribute: Huge Crowd Sees Funeral for Paul (UPI & AP)

VATICAN CITY — Pope Paul VI, the leader of the world’s Roman Catholics who reigned over 15 years of reform and controversy, was eulogized Saturday before the largest crowd to ever watch a papal funeral.

An estimated 250,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the funeral Mass, including the American first lady, Rosalynn Carter. She was seated in the eighth row of dignitaries, perhaps because the U.S. and Holy See do not have full diplomatic relations. Mrs. Carter was next to Imelda Marcos, the wife of the Philippines president.

Vatican Politics: a Time for Lots of Speculation (Milwaukee Journal)

The cardinals cited in this article as leading papal candidates include:

Cardinal Sergio Pignedoli in 1967

Cardinal Sergio Pignedoli in 1967

Italians:  Pignedoli, Benelli, Baggio, Felici

Non-Italians:  Willebrands of The Netherlands, Koenig of Austria, Villot of France, Gantin of Benin

(No American cardinal is considered to have any chance. Vatican observers say the reason is not that the [eight] American cardinals are not qualified, but that there is a reluctance to link the Vatican to a superpower.)

You know what they say: “He who enters the conclave a pope, comes out a cardinal.”

Betting Criticized (AP)

LONDON, ENGLAND — Simon Mahon, a Catholic member of Parliament, complained this week that Ladbroke’s, a British bookmaking firm, is taking bets on who will succeed Pope Paul VI. He said he had written a letter to Ladbroke’s protesting “in the most fervent terms about their appalling taste.” The Labor Party legislator said, “We are electing a successor to Jesus Christ and that is not a matter for Ladbroke’s.” Ladbroke’s lists the Italian Cardinal Sergio Pignedoli as the 5-2 favorite, which means that a $2 bet would win $5 if Pignedoli were selected.

(Actually, the pope is not elected to be the successor to Jesus Christ, but rather that of St. Peter, the first pope.)

What do you think the 1st century odds on Simon the fisherman would have been? 

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