http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/09/03/revealed-british-cardinal-fixed-vatican-conclave-friend-pope/ Revealed: how British cardinal fixed Vatican conclave for his friend Pope Francis Pope Francis in St Peter's Square in August 2017 Credit: Giuseppe C/PacificPress/Barcroft It is a tale every bit as intriguing as the plot of Conclave, Robert Harris’s best-selling thriller set during a fictitious papal election. For it has emerged that Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the former Catholic archbishop of Westminster who died last week, intervened in the last Conclave to ensure his friend was elected Pope Francis. In the days before the 2013 vote, Murphy-O’Connor co-hosted a reception at the British embassy in Rome to lobby support for Cardinal Bergoglio, the then progressive archbishop of Buenos Aires. According to a new book, Murphy-O’Connor invited cardinals from the Commonwealth but deliberately left off the invitation list two powerful but conservative clerics - Cardinal Ouellet from Canada, who had been a frontrunner, and Cardinal Pell from Australia. The plan, which succeeded, was to persuade the cardinals of the need for a liberal pope without interference from the senior conservatives. The book by Catherine Pepinster, the former editor of The Tablet, details how embassy officials left the room to allow Murphy-O’Connor time to persuade the cardinals of the importance of voting for Bergoglio. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor dies aged 85 01:15 Murphy-O’Connor had been dismayed when Pope Benedict XVI was elected at the previous conclave and was determined to avoid another conservative Pope. Ms Pepinster, whose book The Keys and The Kingdom: Britain and the Papacy from John Paul II to Francis is published next month, said: “Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor was a popular, genial man but beneath his jovial exterior was someone of great canniness who knew exactly how the Vatican worked. “And that canniness meant he ensured his friend was elected Pope Francis - a pope who has made a huge impact on the Catholic Church and the world. There have been kingmakers in history; Cormac Murphy-O’Connor turned out to be a popemaker.” Pope Francis was elected on March 13 2013, the second day of the conclave, on the fifth ballot. He need two-thirds of the 115 votes to win. It is thought the votes delivered by Murphy-O’Connor were instrumental. The two men became close friends after meeting for the first time when they were made cardinals on the same day by Pope John Paul II. In 2013, Murphy-O’Connor was too old to vote under Vatican rules, but he travelled to Rome, like many other elderly non-voting cardinals, to participate in talks, called congregations, before the conclave. Shortly after his elevation, Pope Francis was overheard telling Murphy-O’Connor: “Tuo e colpevole”, translated as “you’re to blame”.