The Election of Pope Francis: An Inside Account of the Conclave That Changed History

Orbis. Apr. 2019. 272p. notes. index. ISBN 9781626983199. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781608337811. REL
Vatican correspondent O’Connell (America magazine; Do Not Stifle the Spirit) presents an account of two revolutionary events: a pope’s resignation and the beginning of a new papal style with the election of Pope Francis, the first Latin American and first Jesuit to hold that office. In addition to meticulous research based on interviews and print and electronic resources, the author has the advantage of a personal friendship with Pope Francis, going back to his days as Cardinal Bergoglio of Argentina. Written in diary format, the book covers Benedict’s resignation through Francis’s inauguration, consists of four parts: the days following the resignation, the interregnum, the conclave at which Francis was elected, and the days leading up to his installation. The work cites concerns influencing the election such as need for reform of the Curia, the clergy sex abuse scandal, the humanitarian refugee crisis, and dwindling church membership, and discusses church politics and speculation about likely papal candidates. O’Connell stresses the importance of media coverage and the ways in which new means of communication impacted the proceedings.
VERDICT Highly recommended for readers interested in what goes on behind the scenes in a papal election.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.

Get access to 8000+ annual reviews of books, ebooks, and more

As low as $13.50/month