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Vatican communications chief resigns after scandal over doctored letter

March 21, 2018

Msgr. Dario Vigano has resigned from his post as head of the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications, in the wake of a scandal created by the doctoring of a letter from Pope-emeritus Benedict.

Without mentioning that debacle, Msgr. Vigano acknowledged in his letter of resignation that ‘many controversies have arisen regarding my work.” He said that these controversies could endanger “the complex and great task of reform which you have entrusted to me.” He added that he did not want the project of streamlining Vatican communications to be “delayed, damaged, or even blocked.”

In accepting the resignation, “not without some effort,” Pope Francis praised the outgoing prefect for his work. He announced that he would appoint Msgr. Vigano to a newly created post of “Assessor” in the Secretariat for Communications. The requirements of that position are unclear, but the Pope said that he wanted to retain the “human and professional contribution” of the cleric he had appointed to lead the new Secretariat.

Until a new prefect is appointed, the Secretariat for Communications will officially be under the leadership of an Argentine priest, Msgr. Lucio Adrian Ruiz, who has been serving under Msgr. Vigano as secretary of the office.

Msgr. Vigano had come under fire when reporters discovered that at a press conference introducing a series of books on the theology of Pope Francis, the Secretariat for Communications had distributed a photocopy of a letter from Pope-emeritus Benedict, which had been doctored to conceal the fact that the former Pontiff had declined to read the books. Later it emerged that in the full letter, Benedict had also voiced his dismay about the selection of one of the authors in the series.


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  • Posted by: MWCooney - Mar. 26, 2018 11:09 AM ET USA

    Millstones, millstones Everywhere I see millstones being made, and it is an occasion for grief, not triumph.

  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Mar. 23, 2018 10:10 PM ET USA

    It appears that Vatican clerics belong to a union like most big city public school districts. When a teacher is found molesting students, instead of being arrested they are sent to an office building where they do whatever they want wile getting full pay and accrue pension benefits.

  • Posted by: Philopus - Mar. 22, 2018 8:25 AM ET USA

    If Msgr. Vigano has resigned from his post for causing a scandal, why is the pope simply moving him to another post at the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications?

  • Posted by: filioque - Mar. 22, 2018 12:23 AM ET USA

    So he is still there, just in a new deck chair.

  • Posted by: Bveritas2322 - Mar. 21, 2018 7:19 PM ET USA

    I'm not sure of the rules, but I can't help responding to the comments of John J Plick asking what does it take for a cleric to be admonished and warned by this pontificate? The answer is simple: defend Catholic doctrine publicly, particularly the "rigid" absolutes of Jesus Christ.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Mar. 21, 2018 12:58 PM ET USA

    What does it take for a cleric "not to be praised" but instead admonished and warned?