How Bergoglio won: fresh secrets from the Conclave

Francis elected Pope

A number of cardinals apparently approached Cardinal Bergoglio in the final hours before the Papal Conclave and said to him: 'Careful, it’s your turn now,' according to a new biography of Pope Francis.

- Vatican Insider

Cardinal Bergoglio apparently got 25 votes in the first voting session on the evening of March 12. But according to other rumours, he actually got fewer votes than this and there were allegedly two or three papabili candidates ahead of him. The man tipped as favourite to succeed Benedict XVI was the Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Angelo Scola, who apparently started off with 30 votes to his name.

The revelations, plus many more, appear in a new biography of the current Pope, Francis: Life and Revolution, by Elizabetta Pique, the Vatican correspondent for the Argentinian paper La Nacion, who has know him for over a decade.

That same evening, the biography says, Cardinal Bergoglio invited Argentinean colleague and Curia member Leonardo Sandri to eat with him. 'Come, sit next to me, let’s eat together,' he said. There was vegetable soup on the menu. Sandri wasn’t feeling too well, he had pharyngitis and his eyes kept on watering – the book says - and Cardinal Bergoglio, who had studied chemistry, took a close look at the antibiotic Sandri was taking and advised him on the doses to take. But they couldn’t avoid talking about the Conclave... “Prepare yourself, dear friend,' Sandri told his fellow countryman.

It was in the third voting session, the last of the morning of March 13, that Cardinal Bergoglio’s votes leapt to 50, beating other candidates. In the fourth voting session, the first of the afternoon, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires came close to getting the 77 votes needed to become Pope. Straight after this, voters cast their ballots again for the fifth time. But something went wrong. The cardinal counting the ballots saw there was one too many – 116 votes cast by 115 electors.

One of them had written his chosen candidate’s name down on one ballot without realising that there was another piece of paper stuck to it. So when the moment came for the votes to be counted, that extra blank ballot was a problem. The ballots were not scrutinised but burnt and another voting session held. Finally, in the sixth session,Cardinal Bergoglio’s name came out on top, with 90 votes to his name, according to the book’s author.

FULL STORY Fresh secrets from the Conclave

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