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    Cardinals plan conclave, bookmakers take bets on next pope

    6:52 AM, Mar 4, 2013   |    comments
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    VATICAN CITY (CBS) - The men who will elect the next pope began their work today. The cardinals have begun meeting twice a day in order to determine when the voting will begin and what kind of leader they should be considering.

    Cardinals arrived at the Vatican early Monday morning to begin formal meetings called "discussions". Among the first items on the agenda is when to clear out the Sistine Chapel and begin voting for the next leader of the Catholic Church. It's a process called The Conclave.

    This is also a time for the cardinals get to know each other and talk about the issues facing the church and what kind of man would best be able to address them. CBS Vatican correspondent Phil Pullella says, "They discuss the themes that they want the next pope to address."

    And with the church still reeling from the pedophile sex abuse scandal, financial mismanagement and administrative issues, some cardinals say they are looking for someone who is more than just a spiritual leader. Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago says, "We have to have someone who is willing to govern, not just pastorally with the whole universe in mind, universal church in mind, but, but administratively to see that the administration is better ordered."

    Just two hours after Pope Benedict resigned, gamblers started wagering. More than 20,000 people have placed a bet. The pot is worth more than half a million dollars with expectations it will top one million. Italian resident Ugo Fabiani says, "It's a good gamble something to bet on."

    Oddsmakers say Cardinal Peter Turkson is one of the favorites. The Catholic Church is experiencing growth in Africa and Turskon is the son of a carpenter and fruit vendor from Ghana. Father John Andem from Nigeria says, "That would be interesting, should a black pope come, an African pope."

    Boston's Cardinal Sean O'Malley is a dark horse candidate with 25 to one odds.

    After the Cardinal from Ghana, international bookmakers say the top spots belong to Italy and Canada. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the head of the New York Archdiocese, is currently sitting at 40 to one odds.

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