So who will be next Archbishop of Westminster?
Apparently a leading Irish firm of bookmakers have opened a book on this market; since firms of bookmakers are major advertisers with the Racing Post, the paper is never shy of rewarding them with publicity.
ARCHBISHOP Kevin McDonald of Southwark is a 7-2 favourite with Paddy Power to be the next Archbishop of Westminster following mounting speculation that Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor could retire before Christmas.
Murphy-O'Connor, Britain's most senior Catholic cleric, is obliged to offer his resignation to Pope Benedict XVI when he turns 75 on August 24 next year.
Some reckon the Pope may ask him to serve another year, but rumours are also circulating that health problems could mean that Murphy-O'Connor may be asked to retire before the end of December.
The piece quotes Dr William Oddie, whom they describe as "former editor of The Catholic Herald": "(Peter) Smith should be shorter than 10-1. He is orthodox in his beliefs and has a better manner than most of the others. He is excellent at dealing with the media".
The bookies' own list of "candidates" reads:
7-2 Kevin McDonald (Archbishop of Southwark)
9-2 Alan Hopes (Aux Bishop of Westminster)
9-2 Aidan Nichols OP
5 Vincent Nichols (Archbishop of Birmingham)
7 Michael Fitzgerald (Papal Nuncio in Egypt)
8 Patrick Kelly (Archbishop of Liverpool)
8 Arthur Roche (Bishop of Leeds)
10 Peter Smith (Archbishop of Cardiff)
12 Bernard Longley (Aux Bishop of Westminster)
14 Michael Evans (Bishop of East Anglia)
14 Timothy Radcliffe OP
16 Patrick O'Donoghue (Bishop of Lancaster)
20 John Rawsthorne (Bishop of Hallam)
25 John Crowley (Bishop of Middlesborough)