Eighteenth-century British Jacobites wistfully toasted “the king over the water,” referring to exiled King James II, his successors, and the Jacobite hope for a Stuart restoration to the throne of the United Kingdom. Throughout the pontificate of John Paul II, the cardinal archbishop of Milan, Carlo Maria Martini, S.J., was a kind of “king over the water” for Catholics of the portside persuasion—the pope who should-have-been and might-yet-be. That never happened (although the progressives at the conclave of 2005 implausibly ran Cardinal Martini, then ill with Parkinson’s disease, in a failed attempt to block the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger). But longing for the lost cause continued.
Thus the day after his death this past September, Italy’s leading newspaper, Milan’s Corriere della Sera, published an interview with Cardinal Martini, conducted a few weeks before his death; evidently, the archbishop-emeritus put an embargo on the interview, such that it could only be published after he died.