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Odds favor Black or Asian cardinal as next pope should Francis retire

Odds favor Black or Asian cardinal as next pope should Francis retire
As of Tuesday, the Online Betting Group lists Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle from the Philippines and Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana as the top two favorites to become the next pope, should Pope Francis decide to retire rather than serve for life. File Photo by Stefano Spaziani/UPI | License Photo

June 21 (UPI) -- If Pope Francis retires, the current betting odds point to his replacement as being either Asian or Black, according to bookmakers.

The Online Betting Group lists Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle from the Philippines and Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana as the top two favorites to become the next pope.

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The site gives Tagle, the former Archbishop of Manila, 5 to 1 odds while Turkson, 73, is currently listed at 6 to 1. If elected, he would be the first African pope in more than 1,500 years.

Francis recently promoted Tagle to Cardinal, a move analysts say shows his respect for the 64-year-old.

Rumors of Pope Francis retiring have circulated recently.

The Wall Street Journal speculated in mid-June he may be considering retirement after canceling a planned trip to Africa.

The 85-year-old pope has suffered from health issues. He used a wheelchair in public in May after a knee operation.

Once appointed, the pope traditionally serves for life.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI in 2005, retired in 2013, the first modern pope to do so. The 95-year-old's retirement residence is in Castel Gandolfo, Italy. He continues to receive criticism for his handling of church sex abuse scandals in the 1970s and 1980s while serving as a Cardinal.

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Whether a pope leaves by death or retirement, Cardinals vote by secret ballot to choose the next pope with a two-thirds majority needed.

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