Vatican responds to corruption charges
January 26, 2012
The Vatican has responded angrily to an Italian television report about alleged corruption inside the Vatican, charging that the broadcast used “questionable journalistic methods” and presented a biased and oversimplified version of the facts.
Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, said that the show Gli intoccabili (“The Untouchables”) gave a warped view of Vatican affairs, continuing a pattern of “biased coverage of the Vatican and the Catholic Church.” The Vatican hinted that legal action could be taken against the La7 network that broadcast the report.
The televised report had showed a letter to Pope Benedict XVI from Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former secretary of the Vatican city-state governorate, in which the prelate argued that he should not be appointed apostolic nuncio to the US Archbishop Vigano told the Pontiff that he had worked to stop corruption in Vatican business dealings, and his departure from the Vatican administration would “cause confusion and dismay among those who believed it was possible to correct the many problems of corruption and waste.”
Father Lombardi denied reports that Archbishop Vigano’s appointment to the new post in Washington was a demotion. On the contrary, he said, the archbishop now holds “one of the most important roles in Vatican diplomacy,” and his appointment is a sign of the Pope’s “unquestionable respect and trust” for him.
While overseeing the Vatican’s business affairs, Archbishop Vigano demonstrated “administrative rigor, economization and the improvement of what was a difficult overall economic situation,” Father Lombardi said. But he suggested that Archbishop Vigano was not alone in seeking greater efficiency in Vatican operations, and that overall economic changes—not merely the actions of one prelate--contributed to a positive trend in Vatican financial affairs.
Some of the transactions questioned by the Gli intoccabili show warrant further investigation, Father Lombardi admitted. He said that the Secretariat of State and the Vatican city-state governorate would look into them carefully. However, he said that the television show presented the Vatican’s business affairs in a “superficial and biased manner, highlighting the negative aspects” and exaggerating the internal conflicts.
Archbishop Vigano was appointed to nuncio to the US last year after weeks of rumors that he had fallen out of favor with the Vatican Secretariat of State.
- Press Note on Italian Television Programme (VIS)
- Vatican defends transfer of official (AP)
- Apostolic nuncio reported corruption in Vatican contracts (CWN, 1/25)