I posted about the possibilities for the next Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster at the start of the month. Here's an update.
Were people actually campaigning for Westminster, we would say that Archbishop Nichols continued to show well. He had the Christmas Sermon slot in the Telegraph, and coverage of the Pilgimage to Bethlehem focused on the Archbishop of Canterbury rather than of Westminster. The Telegraph's Religious Correspondent has suggested that MO'C might be asked to stay for a further two years.
Paddy Power has obviously had money passing through his fingers and into his coffers. The latest odds are (previous prices in brackets):
Rt Rev Kevin McDonald 7-2
Rt Rev Vincent Nichols 7-2
Fr Aidan Nichols 5-1 (6-1)
Rt Rev Alan Hopes 11-2
Bishop William Kenney 6-1
Rt Rev Patrick Kelly 10-1 (12-1)
Fr Timothy Radcliffe 10-1 (6-1)
Rt Rev Arthur Roche 10-1 (12-1)
Archbishop Michael Louis Fitzgerald 10-1 (12-1)
Rt Rev Bernard Longley 12-1
Rt Rev Peter Smith 12-1
Rt Rev Michael Evans 16-1
Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue 16-1
Fr Christopher Jamison 20-1
Bishop John Rawsthorne 20-1
Bishop John Patrick Crowley 33-1
Fr Aidan Nichols has firmed up (surprisingly, I think, at this early stage) to 5-1: this is a popular candidate, but is he peaking too soon? As I predicted, Fr Radcliffe is moving in the opposite direction. I was also right about sentimental Liverpudlians betting on their own. Bishop Roche will be around for the length of this campaign: the celebrations following the reordering of his Cathedral attracted a lot of positive comment. My guess is that a few people have put a few quid on Archbishop Fitzgerald simply because he is a curialist: I find the suggestion that his appointment would be a sop to Muslims by the Vatican a bit too wild to take seriously.
All that said, Archbishop McDonald maintains his place as favourite despite the almost total lack of national publicity for him. Now might be a good time to have a look at his (excellent) diocesan website http://www.rcsouthwark.co.uk/ to take stock of His Grace.