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Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic World News

Vatican spokesman denies account of pre-conclave lobbying

December 03, 2014

Austen Ivereigh, a British writer who once served as Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor’s spokesman, asserted in a new book that the English prelate, joined by Cardinals Karl Lehmann, Walter Kasper, and Godfried Danneels, lobbied on behalf of the future Pope Francis before the March 2014 papal election.

“They had learnt their lessons from 2005,” stated Ivereigh, according to a Telegraph report. “They first secured Bergoglio’s assent. Asked if he was willing, he said that he believed that at this time of crisis for the Church no cardinal could refuse if asked.”

“Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor would like to dispel any misunderstanding arising from Austen Ivereigh’s book on Pope Francis,” his press secretary responded in a letter. “He would like to make it clear that no approach to the then Cardinal Bergoglio in the days before the Conclave was made by him or, as far as he knows, by any other cardinal to seek his assent to becoming a candidate for the papacy.”

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Holy See Press Office, said that “all four cardinals named above have expressly denied this description of events, both in terms of the demand for a prior consent by Cardinal Bergoglio and with regard to the conduct of a campaign for his election.”

Following Father Lombardi’s statement, Ivereigh said on Twitter that he was “sorry for implication that there was” a “pre-conclave agreement to elect Bergoglio.”

“They did not formally seek his consent, as line at top of p. 355 suggests,” he added. “But they were convinced this time he [would] not resist his election … Otherwise, account is accurate.”


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