With the end of the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI rapidly drawing to a close, Vatican spokesmen on February 23 vehemently refuted reports originating in the Italian media that presented highly negative descriptions of the Holy See’s central administrative apparatus, known as the Curia.
Reuters news reported on Saturday that since Pope Benedict announced his impending resignation on February 11, “Italian newspapers have been full of rumors about conspiracies, secret reports and lobbies in the Vatican that they say pushed the pope to abdicate.”
Many of the negative statements about the Vatican were first published in La Repubblica, Italy’s largest circulation daily newspaper. An article in Wikipedia says of the paper: “Born as a radical/socialist newspaper, it has since kept a centre-left political stance.”
Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone issued a statement reading:
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.
ABC News quoted from another statement by Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, who criticized the worldwide distribution of what he described as “unverified, unverifiable, or even false” news stories. “Lombardi accused the news media of meddling in the papal election — just as monarchs, nobles, and dictators sought to do in centuries past,” paraphrased ABC. “Now there is an attempt to do this through public opinion,” Lombardi said.
A Saturday report from BBC News stated that the La Repubblica story suggested that the pope had resigned soon after being presented with a dossier that revealed a network of Vatican priests, “united by sexual orientation” (presumably homosexual), who were being blackmailed.
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Photo of Pope Benedict XVI: AP Images