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Vatican spokesman decries leaks, denies internal conflicts

Catholic World News - February 14, 2012

Admitting that it takes “strong nerves” to cope with a recent spate of leaked documents from within the Roman Curia, the director of the Vatican press office has issued a new statement rejecting charges of internal struggles within the Vatican.

Father Federico Lombardi decried the release of confidential document, comparing it to the Wikileaks scandal that struck the US government, and saying that both caused “confusion and bewilderment.” While acknowledging that the documents have often put the Vatican in a bad light, he insisted that more sober analysis shows the Vatican running smoothly.

The Vatican spokesman specifically denied that the sudden rush of leaks points to an conflict among members of the Roman Curia. “Reading these events as an internal power struggle,” he said, “depends to a large extent on the moral coarseness of those who provoke them and those who see them as such, people often incapable of seeing anything else.”

"There is something very sad in the fact that documents are dishonestly passed from the inside to the outside in order to create confusion,” Father Lombardi said. He criticized the unnamed Vatican employees who have released confidential information to the media, but extended his criticism also to “those who undertake to use them for purposes that certainly have nothing to do with pure love of truth.” In another jab at media coverage, Father Lombardi said that intelligent interpretation of the leaked information requires one to “make use of reason, something which not all media outlets tend to do.”

The Vatican spokesman was particularly dismissive of “delirious and incomprehensible reports about plots against the Pope's life.” That story—based on a document that leaked last week—“is nonsense, madness, and does not deserve to be taken seriously,” he said.

Father Lombardi gave more attention to stories about financial mismanagement at the Vatican. He conceded that some problems had been identified, and said that Vatican officials were moving to tighten control. Paradoxically, he said, “a lot of the recently leaked documents tend to discredit precisely those efforts.” Nevertheless the Vatican is committed to the financial reforms, he said.

The Vatican spokesman also dismissed suggestions that the leaks are the result of “supposed power struggles in view of the next conclave.” Father Lombardi said that “all the Pontiffs elected during the last hundred years have been people of exalted and unquestioned spiritual merit.” He expressed confidence that cardinal-electors at a coming conclave would be guided by the welfare of the Church, not by internal power conflicts.

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