MyBookie’s Religion Specials – The Next Pope’s Papal Name Props

Perhaps the best contribution online betting sites have provided to society is the ability to wager on just about anything, no matter how ridiculous or obscure – or even blasphemous, depending on how strict you are about these things.

When it comes to oddball betting lines, there’s nobody better than the oddsmakers at MyBookie.

MyBookie’s entertainment betting section features odds on:

  • the possibility of celebrity couples getting divorced,
  • celebrity deathmatches (two people are matched up against each other, you pick which will pass away first),
  • awards show results,
  • who will be cast in movie roles,
  • and TV show outcomes – both for reality competitions and scripted series.

The top-tier betting site also offers a “Religion” category. There you’ll find “Pope Props & Specials;” that’s what we’ll be discussing on this page.

Previously, there were two Pope proposition markets:

Today, only the latter is available (although the other betting odds could reappear at any time).

Here are the latest betting lines for the next Pope’s papal name:

Papal Name Betting Odds Papal Name Betting Odds Papal Name Betting Odds
Leo +330 Stephen +1400 Patrick +4000
Francis +330 Alexander +1700 Adrian +4000
John +400 Joseph/Joesephius +1700 James +5000
Pius +400 Urban/Blessed Urban +2200 Theodore +5000
Benedict +750 Celestine +2200 Felix +5000
Gregory +750 Anastasius +2500 Damian +6600
Paul +900 Nicholas +2500 Leonard +6600
John Paul +1000 Eugene +3300 Sixtus +6600
Clement +1000 Julius +3300 Sylvester +6600
Boniface +1400 Paschal +4000 Valentine +6600
Innocent/Blessed Innocent +1400 Honorus +4000 Victor +6600

Papal Names

Since the 16th century, it’s been customary for every newly elected Pope to adopt a new name immediately after being elected.

30-60 minutes after the white smoke is released from the Vatican rooftop, signaling to the public that a choice has been made, the new leader of the Catholic Church emerges on the balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square and is introduced to the public by their papal name.

Popes often take the name of a recent predecessor they admire and plan to emulate, reflecting their priorities and intentions.

The papal name signifies the direction in which the new pontiff intends to steer the Church. Their choice might indicate a move towards conservatism or openness to reform.

For example:

Benedict XVI referenced Pope Benedict XV, who “guided the Church through the turbulent times of the First World War.”

“He was a true and courageous prophet of peace who struggled strenuously and bravely, first to avoid the drama of war and then to limit its terrible consequences,” Benedict XVI explained.

“He was a true and courageous prophet of peace who struggled strenuously and bravely, first to avoid the drama of war and then to limit its terrible consequences. In his footsteps, I place my ministry, in the service of reconciliation and harmony between peoples, profoundly convinced that the great good of peace is above all a gift of God, a fragile and precious gift to be invoked, safeguarded, and constructed, day after day and with everyone’s contributions.”

The name was also a reference to St. Benedict of Nursia, who played an integral part in spreading Christianity throughout Europe. He was particularly revered in the previous Pope’s homeland of Germany.

Pope Francis I

Francis I, the current pontiff, is the first of his name. Already the first Jesuit and first Latin American to be elected Pope, he took the name “Francis,” after Saint Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan Order.

The Franciscans practice detachment from material possessions and prioritize solidarity with the poor. By adopting this name, Francis I signaled to the world that his Catholic Church would be focused on issues of poverty and that he’d be a reformer.

However, many within the Church are critical of the direction Francis is taking Catholicism.

He sparked outrage in 2019 by supporting same-sex unions. In an interview with Mexican broadcaster Televisa, the Pope said: “Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family.”

“Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable because of it.”

His peers did not like that one.

“Such declarations generate great bewilderment and cause confusion and error among Catholic faithful,” Cardinal Raymond Burke responded, criticizing the Pope for the comment. Burke added that the words should be “rightly interpreted as simple private opinions of the person who made them.”

That exchange provides a decent example of why, when a new Pope is finally chosen, they will likely be more conservative.

“I think, as the Roman saying goes, a fat pope follows a thin one, and I think we may well get the pendulum swinging back towards a more conservative pope, as that’s what usually happens,” predicts Edward Pentin, author of The Next Pope: The Leading Cardinal Candidates.

If you’re contemplating betting on the next Pope’s name, you may want to get your picks in soon.

Francis is 84 years old. Below, you’ll find the average ages Popes throughout history have begun and ended their reigns. (Keep in mind that the 21st century’s data is based on a sample size of two and the exit age is probably inflated as a result.)

Century Average Start Age Average End Age
16th 61 66
17th 67 75
18th 65 77
19th 62 79
20th 65 77
21st 77 85

Favorite Picks for the Next Pope’s Papal Name

Before we make any predictions, we should analyze some data. Remember, Vatican experts believe Francis’s successor will be a more conservative Pope. As such, they’ll likely return to traditional naming conventions.

That means choosing a more common papal name – preferably one used by a like-minded pontiff in relatively recent times.

Most Used Papal Names:

  • 21 – John
  • 16 – Gregory
  • 15 – Benedict
  • 14 – Clement
  • 13 – Innocent & Leo
  • 12 – Pius
  • 9 – Stephen
  • 8 – Urban
  • 7 – Alexander
  • 6 – Adrian & Paul
  • 5 – Celestine, Nicholas, and Sixtus
  • 4 – Anastasius, Eugene, Honorius, and Sergius
  • 3 – Callixtus, Felix, Julius, Lucious, Martin, Sylvester, & Victor
  • And numerous names that were only used once or twice.
Every Papal Name Chosen Since 1800:

  • Francis I (current Pope)
  • Benedict XVI
  • John Paul II
  • John Paul I
  • Paul VI
  • John XXIII
  • Pius XII
  • Pius XI
  • Benedict XV
  • Pius X
  • Leo XIII
  • Pius IX
  • Gregory XVI
  • Pius VIII
  • Leo XII
  • Pius VII

Since new Popes will usually take the name of someone they revere or share similar ideologies, Francis’s successor will probably adopt one of the monikers from the list above. That narrows our betting options dramatically.

Benedict (+750)

After doing more research, Benedict at +750 is my favorite pick.

Since Francis I ascended to the papacy, the Vatican has been split. Just take a look at this introductory summary from a 2018 Vanity Fair article about the two Popes’ relationship:

When he retired, the ultra-conservative Pope Benedict XVI was expected to disappear from view, clearing the way for his liberal successor, Francis, to clean house in the notoriously corrupt Vatican. Instead, he stayed, setting the stage for a de-stabilizing brawl over morality, theology, and the Church’sChurch’s horrific legacy of sexual abuse.

The Ratzinger wing of the Vatican is vehemently (and vocally) opposed to Francis’s proposed reforms. The current Pope acknowledged the ideological divide two years before the Vanity Fair piece. Der Spiegel, a prominent German publication, reported the Argentinian pontiff as saying:

“It is not to be excluded that I will enter history as the one who split the Catholic Church.”

So, we know there’s an influential conservative faction within the Vatican that disapproves of Francis’s progressive views.

We also know that many of the College of Cardinals’ newest members will probably feel the same. “I think the fact that (the new Cardinals) come from the peripheries adds an interesting element, a surprising element, perhaps,” Edward Pentin told interviewer Raymond Arroyo.

“The Global South, where these new cardinals come from, tends to be more conservative.”

I suspect the next Pope will take the name Benedict XVII to demonstrate allegiance to Vatican conservatives while making a statement that the Catholic Church is returning to its pre-Francis ideologies.

“Return to Normalcy”

It’s kind of like how Joe Biden’s first course of action as President was to undo all of Donald Trump’s executive orders.

Whether it’s the Vatican or the White House, when establishment officials regain power, their top priority is erasing any trace of any outsiders or reformers who were perceived to have been a threat to the system and restoring “order.”

Obviously, Pope Francis is less controversial and more competent than Trump, but their both still considered “outsiders” and “trouble-makers” within their respective institutions.

Next Pope’s Name?

John Paul (+1000)

If the next Pope doesn’t choose “Benedict,” I believe they’ll use “John Paul III.”

John Paul I was the first to create a composite name out of respect for John XXIII and Paul VI. They led the Catholic Church through the Second Vatican Council, which significantly altered how the Church interacted with the modern world.

The reforms allowed priests to lead Mass in local languages over Latin and face the congregation rather than the opposite – among many other changes.

However, he died roughly a month after being elected. Cardinal Karol Wojtyla adopted “John Paul II” to pay homage and express his intention to continue his predecessor’s work.

John Paul II is remembered for his pastoral journeys.

He traveled to 129 countries while holding the pontificate, drawing some of the largest crowds ever assembled in human history. Over four million people attended his World Youth Day festival in Manilla in 1995.

As a Cardinal, Wojtyła contributed to the Second Vatican Council but maintained relatively conservative interpretations of the reforms.

So, a future Pope who chooses the papal name “John Paul III,” will likely take the Catholic Church in a more conservative direction than Francis I, while committing to traveling the world preaching the gospel.

Next Pope’s Name?
John Paul

Pius (+400)

“Pius” is another papal name that will express a firm intention to build a more conservative church and reverse any changes inspired or implemented by Pope Francis.

“There is a very conservative party within the cardinals who are hoping for Pius XIII or Benedict XVII,” says Italian Catholic Church historian Alberto Melloni. Pius XII, who Melloni references served between 1939 and 1958 and was very conservative,

“If the new pope was to call himself Pius XIII, it would be a very ideological choice,” he added.

Of the 16 Popes to hold the pontificate since 1800, six took the name “Pius.”
In December, I wrote the following:

The last “Pius” was The Venerable Pius XII, who was Pope from 1939 through 1958. He’s credited with intervening for peace during World War II.

With the world inching closer to war again, as China challenges US global hegemony, the next Pope taking the name “Pius” makes a ton of sense to me. It’s a conservative name that represents a time when the Vatican was at the center of worldwide diplomacy.

Pius at +400 is my favorite bet at the moment.

Today, it’s my third-favorite bet behind Benedict and John Paul.

Otherwise, I still feel precisely the same way about the “Pius” papal name. All signs point towards the Catholic Church making a hard turn towards conservatism the moment Francis I is gone.

The three names I’ve picked in this article are all perfect representations of that ideological shift.

They play into (or at least acknowledge) the Vatican’s political schism and pay homage to Catholic leaders who worked with current Cardinals on the Second Vatican Council.

Each can also be tied to modern-day global issues.
  • The next “Pius” may express interest in intervening in global tensions between world superpowers.
  • John Paul III could focus on traveling, spreading the gospel, and taking down Communism.
  • Or Benedict XVII can say the papal name once again represents “unity,” this time for a divided Vatican City — as well as taking a parting shot at “Francis the reformer.”

All three names work!

Next Pope’s Name?
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Will Cormier / Author

Will Cormier is a sports and political betting writer living in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada. When he’s not wandering around the streets of the Arts District aimlessly, a lifetime of pessimism and paranoia has made Will perfectly suited for handicapping politics. Cormier tries to analyze current events as objectively as possible – a strategy that often enrages loyalists on both the right and the left. When he’s not covering major upcoming elections, Will enjoys writing about basketball, football, and MMA from a betting perspective. He also loves dogs, ice cream sundaes, the movie “Stomp the Yard,” and long walks on the beach.