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Vatican scolds reporters for 'Vatileaks' speculation

Catholic World News - July 23, 2012

The Vatican has voiced “firm and total disapproval” of Italian and German newspaper reports naming three individuals who are allegedly being investigated in connection with the leaks of confidential papal documents.

Speculative stories “which are not based on objective criteria” are harmful to the Church and to the reputations of the individuals, said Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office.

The Italian daily La Repubblica had said that three people—a housekeeper to Pope Benedict XVI and two officials of the Roman Curia—were under active investigation in the “Vatileaks” scandal. But Father Lombardi said that the story was inaccurate.

La Repubblica had pointed to Ingrid Stampa, a member of the Pope’s household staff; and to two prelates: Cardinal Paolo Sardi, the retired vice-chamberlain; and Bishop Josef Clemens, the secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, who for years had been a chief aide to then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The newspaper article suggested that the three had been dismissed from their duties because of their suspected involvement with the leaks. In fact, the Vatican press office noted, Stampa and Bishop Clemens remain in their respective posts, while Cardinal Sardi retired in January at the age of 76.

Dozens of Vatican officials have been questioned about the leaked documents, Father Lombardi observed. While the individuals named in the newspaper stories may have been asked to provide evidence, “this says nothing about their being suspected of shared responsibility or complicity.”

Last week, a commission of 3 cardinals appointed by Pope Benedict to investigate the leaks delivered its report to the Pontiff. The content of that report has not been made public. Father Lombardi said: “It is not this kind of information that the public has the right to know.”

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