Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, countered claims regarding the Conclave and the election of Pope Francis in a recently published book.

The book entitled: “The Great Reformer - Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope”, is written by British journalist and author Austen Ivereigh. It has been published in English and Italian and is set to be released in Spanish and Portuguese next year.

Ivereigh has worked as the vice director of The Tablet, as well as the Director of Public Relations of Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster.

In the book, Ivereigh states that in the days leading to the Conclave, four prelates - Cardinals Murphy O’Connor, Walter Kasper and Karl Lehmann of Germany and Godfried Daneels of Belgium - “ first secured  Bergoglio’s assent” before his eventual election. It also states that began “to work” in campaigning for his election.

In a statement sent to the blog, Il Sismografo, Fr. Lombardi responded to the books claims.

“I can declare that all four cardinal 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,” he said.

Fr. Lombardi also stated that the aforementioned Cardinals were “surprised and disappointed” at the claims published."