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Catholic World News

Italian journalist sees curial infighting, says Vatican diplomacy in disarray

April 07, 2011

A political commentator for Corriere Della Sera has published a book analyzing the Vatican’s public relations problems.

“The gaffes are not due to problems of external communications,” Massimo Franco told the National Catholic Register. “They come from within, from the fact that the information chain inside the Vatican doesn’t work anymore because there is a sort of short-circuiting.”

Franco added:

When Benedict XVI was elected, the fact that it was a very quick election, and that he felt himself to be old, meant there couldn’t be any strategy in building up a new system of governance in the Vatican. The whole [Vatican] structure was shaped by the Cold War … When the Berlin Wall fell, you had Western secret services, and maybe Russian as well, prepared to deal with and cope with a certain kind of world. When this world wasn’t there any more, they went on operating in the same way as in the past. And yet the world had moved on. The same is true of the Vatican.

Franco also said that there are strong divisions in the Curia and that Vatican diplomacy is in disarray:

I had a very strange experience recently. I met about 30 ambassadors accredited to the Holy See from all over the world in order to discuss the Vatican in international politics. And during these discussions, some of them admitted that they didn’t know if, in 10 years’ time, there would still be an embassy to the Holy See for their countries because the Vatican doesn’t transmit an international agenda anymore.

One of them told me he felt as if he were the last ambassador in Venice in 1797-- the time when the city was occupied and destroyed by Napoleon. So there is a perception that the Vatican, on the international level, is losing influence …

The Church is split, so it’s as though the conclave never finished. Under the leadership of Benedict XVI, factions have fought each other very strongly, compared to the past.


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