Action Alert!

Vatileaks: an interesting French perspective

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jun 12, 2012

If you want an interesting perspective on the current upheaval at the Vatican, and you read French comfortably, I strongly recommend this detailed analysis by my old friend and sometime colleague, Jean-Marie Guénois of Le Figaro.

Having spent more than 20 years covering the Vatican, Guénois knows the scene and knows the players well. And as a serious and informed Catholic, he tends to keep things in proper perspective. So how serious does he consider the “Vatileaks” and attendant scandals?

If I have to classify it on the Richter scale, from 1 to 10, I would give it an 8+. Not so much for the fact themselves, but because of the consequences of this shock.

The whole thing is “profoundly unjust to Benedict XVI,” my friend observes, because the Pope is not responsible for the mess—in fact, has been steadily pushing for greater transparency and accountability in Church leadership, rather than the sort of subterfuge and skullduggery that the “Vatileaks” campaign exemplifies.

Nevertheless the Holy Father has a nasty “palace struggle” on his hands, in which unscrupulous officials are setting ethical rules aside in order to advance their own “higher” goals, which include deposing the Pope’s most trusted aide, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone:

It seems that the network (of laymen and prelates) who leaked these documents from the Holy See had the intending of “helping” the Pope to reform that irreformable Curia, and to push the Secretary of State into retirement; but they chose an absurd plan.

There are certainly problems in the administration of the Roman Curia, Guénois concludes, but such an open assault on the system is highly unlikely to bring about effective reform.

Read the whole piece. It’s a nice analysis of a murky and unattractive phenomenon.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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