Vatican blasts 'false' conclave reports
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican lashed out on Saturday at the media for what it said has been a run of defamatory and false reports before the conclave to elect Pope Benedict XVI's successor, saying they were an attempt to influence the election.
Italian newspapers have been rife with unsourced reports in recent days about the contents of a secret dossier prepared for the pope by three cardinals who investigated the origins of the 2012 scandal caused by leaked Vatican documents.
The media reports suggested the revelations in the dossier, given to Benedict in December, were a factor in his decision to resign. The pope has said merely that he does not have the “strength of mind and body” to carry on and would resign Feb. 28.
The secretariat of state said on Saturday that the Roman Catholic Church has for centuries insisted on the independence of its cardinals to freely elect their pope — a reference to episodes in the past when European royals vetoed papal contenders.
“It is deplorable that as we draw closer to the time of the beginning of the conclave ... that there be a widespread distribution of often unverified, unverifiable or completely false news stories that cause serious damage to persons and institutions,” the statement said.
Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi was asked how specifically the media were trying to influence the outcome; Lombardi said only that the reports have tended to paint the Curia in a negative light “beyond the considerations and serene evaluations” of problems that cardinals might discuss before the conclave.
Some Vatican watchers have speculated that because the Vatican bureaucracy is heavily Italian, cardinals might be persuaded to elect a non-Italian, non-Vatican-based cardinal as pope to try to impose some reform on the Curia.
While Lombardi has said the reports “do not correspond to reality,” the pope and some of his closest collaborators have recently denounced the dysfunction in the Apostolic Palace.
Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, for example, criticized the “divisions, dissent, careerism, jealousies” that afflict the Vatican bureaucracy. He made the comments on Friday, the penultimate day of the Vatican's weeklong spiritual exercises that were attended by the pope and officials.
Ravasi, a papal contender, was chosen by Benedict to deliver daily meditations, and the pope praised him for his “brilliant” work.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Migrants risk all to flee
- Japan law to implement mandate for hiring of women
- Tropical Storm Erika’s menace ebbs
- Migrants who pushed past police board buses, trains in Macedonia
- Nazi ‘gold train’ evidence mounts
- Vatican priest accused of child sex abuse found dead
- 3 Americans praised for subduing gunman on European train