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Pope meets with curial leaders: to discuss internal conflicts and leaks?

Catholic World News - January 30, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI held a special meeting on January 28 with heads of the offices of the Roman Curia. The Vatican did not disclose the reason for the meeting, but informed sources suggested that the main topic was the controversy inside the Vatican over charges of corruption and cronyism in business dealings.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Secretary of State, has come under fire since the revelations that Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano had campaigned vigorously for changes in the Vatican’s business practices, and argued that he should be allowed to continue that campaign, rather than being assigned to his current post as apostolic nuncio in the United States.

Leading Vatican journalist Andrea Tornielli reports that the Vatican investigated Archbishop Vigano’s complaints and determined that they were unfounded. However, Tornielli notes, it is odd that a prelate who made unfounded accusations would receive a sensitive diplomatic assignment. There has been considerable tension within the Roman Curia over both the archbishop’s complaints and the response by the Secretariat of State.

At the January 28 meeting, one source said, a key question was the public airing of a confidential letter from Archbishop Vigano to Pope Benedict XVI. Top Vatican officials are clearly rattled by the leak, and disconcerted by the negative public impact. The Vatican has often been charged with maladroit handling of public-relations issues during this pontificate, but has rarely been hurt by leaks of confidential information.

Pope Benedict has held meetings with the leaders of the Roman Curia on several occasions, to discuss major developments and plan a coordinated response to problems. In February 2006 he summoned the curial officials to discuss his plans to lift excommunications of the leaders of the Society of St. Pius X; in November 2006, to speak about the excommunicated Archbishop Milingo and his crusade against clerical celibacy; in November 2010, to reveal his plan to establish a new Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization.

Again, the Vatican does not announce the reasons for such meetings with dicastery heads, and the above list of topics relies on unconfirmed reports. On at least one occasion, in April 2006, the Pope held a meeting with his curial aides, and Vatican-watchers never learned the reason.

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