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Italian paper charges inaccuracy in Vatican statement on Boffo affair

Catholic World News - February 22, 2010

An Italian newspaper has directly challenged a claim by the Vatican Secretariat of State that Pope Benedict XVI was kept fully briefed on Italian media charges that a senior Vatican figure had brought the false charges that led to the resignation of an Italian Catholic newspaper editor.

On February 9, in response to persistent reports that Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone had authorized the release of damaging information about Dino Boffo, then the editor of the daily Avvenire, the Secretariat of State released an unusual disclaimer, angrily denying the claims and emphasizing that Cardinal Bertone had the full confidence of Pope Benedict XVI. The statement added that the Pontiff had been kept fully informed of the controversy that was swirling in the Italian media.

However the daily Repubblica reports that the daily press summaries given to the Pope did not contain any references to the Boffo controversy until the day that extraordinary Vatican statement was released. Repubblica cites those press summaries as evidence that the February 9 statement was inaccurate. The press summaries are prepared by the Secretariat of State: the same office that insisted the Pope had been fully informed.

In leveling a new charge of inaccuracy against the Secretariat of State, Repubblica is escalating the offensive against Cardinal Bertone. The February 9 statement from the Vatican had chided Italian journalists for repeating the rumors about Cardinal Bertone's alleged involvement in the Boffo affair, saying that any attack on the Secretary of State was implicitly an attack on the Pope himself. By raising the question of whether Pope Benedict was fully informed about the controversy, Repubblica seems to be making an effort to sever that connection between the Pope and his top lieutenant, making Cardinal Bertone alone responsible for any Vatican involvement in the Boffo scandal.

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