Vatican denounces press reports on papal transition

A full moon is seen behind the cross of the Obelisk of St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Feb. 23, the eve of Pope Benedict XVI's final Angelus. (CNS photo/Eric Gaillard, Reuters)
A full moon is seen behind the cross of the Obelisk of St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Feb. 23, the eve of Pope Benedict XVI’s final Angelus. (CNS photo/Eric Gaillard, Reuters)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Vatican officials released a pair of unusual statements Feb. 23 condemning some press coverage of the papal transition.

A communique from the Secretariat of State called “deplorable” the “widespread distribution of often unverified, unverifiable or completely false news stories” intended to exert “pressures on the election of the pope.”

Earlier in the day, the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, delivered an editorial on Vatican Radio lamenting “pressures and considerations that are foreign to the spirit with which the church would like to live this period of waiting and preparation.”

Father Lombardi denounced “those who seek to profit from the moment of surprise and disorientation of the spiritually naive to sow confusion and to discredit the church and its governance,” and accused such people of using “old tools, such as gossip, misinformation and sometimes slander” to influence the cardinals who will be voting in the upcoming papal election.

Neither Vatican statement specified the news stories in question, but Father Lombardi’s editorial referred to distortions by “those who consider money, sex and power before all else and are used to reading diverse realities from these perspectives.”

Articles had appeared in the Italian press earlier in the week portraying the Vatican as divided among political factions, with some officials supposedly subject to blackmail for sexual misdeeds and suggesting a link between bureaucratic infighting and Pope Benedict’s historic decision to step down Feb. 28.

The stories referred to a confidential internal report on the so-called “VatiLeaks” of confidential documents last year, but included no evidence of access to the contents of that report.

— By Francis X. Rocca Catholic News Service 


  1. Your ‘Catholic’ News service is wrong in quoting, refering to and/or citing unproven and un-verifiable reports.

  2. “This is the test. Do you love your unknown neighbor as yourself? Do you love your dirty, hairy, smelly, dispossessed neighbor as yourself, and will you reach out to help?”
    “Everything else is footnotes.”


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