“Spotting their moment, the initiative was now seized by the European reformers who in 2005 had pushed for Bergoglio,” Mr Ivereigh, who once served as Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor’s press secretary, explains in the book.
He wrote that Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, then 80 and no longer with a vote in the conclave, teamed up with the German cardinal Walter Kasper, whose controversial call for remarried divorcees to be allowed to receive communion was one of the main points of division at the synod that Pope Francis held in Rome this year.
Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor’s role included lobbying his North American counterparts as well as acting as a link for those from Commonwealth countries.
“They had learnt their lessons from 2005,” Mr Ivereigh explains. “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.
“Murphy-O’Connor knowingly warned him to 'be careful’, and that it was his turn now, and was told 'capisco’ – 'I understand’.
“Then they got to work, touring the cardinals’ dinners to promote their man, arguing that his age – 76 – should no longer be considered an obstacle, given that popes could resign. Having understood from 2005 the dynamics of a conclave, they knew that votes travelled to those who made a strong showing out of the gate.”
A spokeswoman for Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor said that the then Cardinal Bergoglio was not approached with a view to seeking his assent as a candidate for the papacy.Well, this is the claim of one man that Murphy-O'Connor and Kasper were the king makers at the conclave. But in a 2013 talk at Villanova, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick may have inadvertently let the cat out of the bag when he talked about how he was asked to "talk up" Bergoglio. See the video below. The discussion of the conclave starts around 16 minutes in. And the statement is around 19:30. McCarrick was approached by an "influential Italian" not, apparently a Cardinal, but did he, in fact, join the team to "talk up" Bergoglio? He doesn't say. The episode certainly affirms Ivereigh's claim that a lobbying effort was going on. What do you think?