The Terna has been sent to Rome according to Mandrake in today's Telegraph.
'The candidates to succeed Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor as Archbishop of Westminster have been whittled down to three. Mandrake hears that the names on the official list - the terna - are Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Archbishop Peter Smith and Bishop Arthur Roche.
"It will disappoint those who were hoping for someone outside of the current crop of bishops," whispers my man at Archbishop's House. "Benedict XVI is not, however, obliged to pick one of the names that Archbishop Faustino Munoz, the Papal Nuncio, submits to him so we will have to wait and see."
Traditionalists had hoped that the next archbishop would have been chosen, like Basil Hume, from outside the episcopacy of England and Wales and Mandrake understands that George Pell, the Australian cardinal, had been lobbying the Pope for such a move. This led to speculation that either Abbot Hugh Gilbert, of Pluscarden Abbey in Scotland, or Fr Aidan Nichols, a Dominican Friar, were in the frame.
The Most Rev Nichols, the Archbishop of Birmingham, considered the favourite, is supported by Lord Alton, while the Rt Rev Roche, the Bishop of Leeds, is backed by John Gummer, the Catholic convert MP. The Most Rev Smith, the Archbishop of Cardiff, won admirers with his lobbying of parliament over legislation on euthanasia and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.
Cardinal Murphy O'Connor is expected to stand down early next year.'
That this might be the terna sent by the Nuncio goes without saying, but it's still the terna that would have been sent last year if the Cardinal's resignation hadn't been refused. It's just not a list of Benedictine names.
Cardinal Pell's role as Kingmaker rather than outsider candidate is an interesting speculation, and one which will leave a few of the current Hierarchy a bit queasy when they find out what was in the Telegraph (for I can't believe that any of them reads it with his breakfast).
Bishops Smith and Roche are still at 12/1 at PaddyPower as I write this, and Archbishop Nichols remains favourite at 2/1. If the terna were accepted by Rome and you had a tenner on each Bishop on it, then you'd break exactly even if Nicols got it and be £110 up if either of the others won. But I still think you'd be £30 down if you tried this line of betting.
Update: Paddy still hasn't changed his prices. He doesn't believe that this is the terna from which the Archbishop will be chosen either.
Further Update: I've tried to make the betting section a bit clearer. I've had several e-mails asking for clarification.
WARNING: If you don't even understand what odds are, don't even think about starting to bet on this book. If you haven't betted before, don't even think about starting to bet on this book. If you haven't got money to lose, don't even think about starting to bet on this book. Unless you're happy that betting means potentially giving the bookie every last penny you pledge, don't even think about starting to bet on this book.