Pope Benedict XVI has shocked the Catholic community as he announced he will officially step down and retire on February 28, 2013 due to health issues. A Pope stepping down is a very uncommon event, so uncommon this is the first time in 600 years that such a thing has occurred.
The timing of Benedict's decision to walk away also has many Christians wondering why as the season of Lent is starting up later this week.
In a statement released today, Feb. 11 Benedict said, "After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths due to an advanced age are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry," he said. "I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only by words and deeds but no less with prayer and suffering."
So who will take Pope Benedict's place?
Well, while the list of possibilities is long, there are odds out on who will win and become the next leader of the Catholic church. No, this is not a joke.
Sportsbook Paddy Power has the odds out on who they think may become the next Pope, and early on the odds favor Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec.
Ouellet is listed at 3/1 and is followed by Cardinal Peter Turkson (Ghana) at 7/2 and Cardinal Francis Arinze (Nigeria) at 4/1.
You can click here to see the entire list of odds of a possible replacement for Pope Benedict.