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Vatican assails new leaks

santita-206x300The Vatican issued a statement Saturday calling a new leak of its internal documents "a criminal act" that must be prosecuted. The statement called for prosecution not only of the leaker but also "those who received stolen property" - that is, evidently, Gianluigi Nuzzi, an Italian journalist who came up with a trove of papal records for his new book, Sua Santita, or His Holiness.The Vatican said it will seek "international cooperation," which I assume means that it will press Italian authorities to prosecute even the journalist. The publication of the leaked documents is not a "journalistic initiative," the Vatican insists, but a crime.I don't know what protections Italian journalists have; Nuzzi seems to be reveling in the attention, as any author might.One imagines that only a fairly small circle of people would have access to the private papers of Pope Benedict XVI. Despite what the Holy See says about the vile nature of these leaks, I continue to suspect that the leaker is taking the only available avenue to reform a bureaucracy that treats corruption too casually. Who is the leaker? Someone with a conscience, is my guess.

About the Author

Paul Moses, a professor of journalism at Brooklyn College/CUNY, is the author of The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi's Mission of Peace (Doubleday, 2009) and An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York's Irish and Italians (NYU Press, 2015).



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The leaker may be somebody who desires revenge against Pope Benedict XVI for a real or imagined slight against the leaker personally, not somebody who has a conscience regarding the priest-sex-abuse scandal.

Wow. Amazing how the oft cited snail pace of the Vatican can, when there is urgency, spring into quick and decisive action...Yet during the Maciel scandal and inter alia, all the abuse scandals in the US and Canada that wound their way into the Vatican, we were told how slowly the machine of the Vatican moves. I am surprised that in the land of Italy, they would not have the famous Chicago political line down to a science. "Never write if you can speak; never speak if you can nod; never nod if you can wink"But such is the strength and weakness of the Catholic church. Everything has a record.

This is promising. Maybe the Vatican will really implode after all. How many more books does this guy have in him?

The Spirit works in strange ways: leaks, prosecutions, tomb openings....For an overview of the current papal situation, please read, "More Papal Fears For Children, Women, Nuns, Priests & Gay Persons--Do Only Cardinals Matter To Our Pope?", accessible by clicking on at:

How does a good conscience ever prompt one to do a wrongful act?

Here is an AP report on the story: journalistic ethics on this aren't clear to me. How does one distinguish between the public's right to know and a public official's right to privacy?

Jim P. -- You can read the beginning of the book and decide for yourself. From the Table of Contents and first few pages, that's a lot more than I really feel much need for regarding Vatican intrigue.

If you will excuse Vox-Clara-style translation, this is the author's teaser list of letter subjects: - letters Boffo, - the former director of the palace burned tissue, - Vigan forced to resign, - private donations (including those of Bruno Vespa), - the recommendations to Gianni Letta, - the problem according to the ICI confidential reports of the President of the IOR Gotti Tedeschi,- the case of Ruby and Berlusconi ("the victim of a politicized judiciary"),- the incredible 007 shadowing of the Vatican in Italian territory,- the truth about the Legionaries of Christ and pedophilia in testimony never made public,- the excesses of many bishops throughout the world. - Even a secret meeting between Napolitano and the pope that no one knows. - Father Julian Carron, leader of Cl that accuses the diocese of Milan to political sympathies.

The Roman Empire does not believe that the truth will set you free.

I think that Benedict understands quite well (but not well enough) that the Church's reputation was badly damaged by the scandal, and his instinct to initiate a press office that would respond immediately to matters of public interest was a very good one. Fr. Lombardi is the best thing to happen in the Vatican in generations. Plus there are no doubt those in the Vatican who want to make this new openness even wider. HEnce the leaks. (Or maybe a lowly secretary is just making copies for money? Could be.)But another side of Benedict still wants to hold on to secrecy as the Vatican's preferred m.o. Poor man. I do feel sorry for him. He must feel quite conflicted.

God bless the leaker! The documentary film needs to come next.An answer to the Holy See's use of diplomatic status to exempt themselves from ever having to disclose documents to any court/plaintiff about criminal actions. Thanks to Jack Barry for the Italian translation. Publisher: English translation subito, please.

If the leaker is found, he will never work in this church again. In my experience with leaks, the leakers tend to over- rather than under-, estimate what might happen to them. So I think the Vatican is looking for someone in a very responsible position (access across a range of issues) who expects to be shown the instruments if he is caught. People don't leak until they have been pushed beyond endurance.It would be good if the Vatican showed the same care and concern for looking after the money it is given for specific causes as it does for looking after the pope's privacy. But, of course, the issue isn't the pope's privacy either, is it? It's preservation of the royal mystique.

There is something no one likes about a leak, but surely they are sometimes justified. As Carolyn says. it is wrong for the Vatican to exempt itself from just law. The only defense here is to break the privacy law.I wonder who did it. Give that man a medal.

If much correction of recent history turns out to be required due to this book's display of Vatican documents, all the recent talk about the new Vatican openness is unfortunately going to look like a lot of hot air, deservedly or not. As an example, the Italian paper La Repubblica says roughly: "now the dust rises again with the disclosure of the letter Boffo". The letter is said to show that a report 2 years ago in L'Osservatore Romano, approved and ordered published by the Pope, was not accurate [my word]. I join Carolyn's request for English translation subito (and analysis, prego).

Another example of how Vatican curia/omanita is an out of date and problematic governance.

From the AP report:"Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said in a statement Saturday the book was an 'objectively defamatory' work that 'clearly assumes characters of a criminal act.' "I'm no lawyer, but how is it that the pope's OWN correspondence can be considered defamatory? Can one defame oneself? And if one's own correspondence is thought to be shameful enough that, if said by others, it would be defamatory...I agree--God bless the leaker. Let's hear it for conscience, even if anonymous. Let's call him "Deep Chalice." (Didn't Nicodemus first come to Jesus in the dark? And he turned out all right...)

I think they're overworking "objectively." It's getting to be almost as common in Vatican statements as "authentic."

La Repubblica is already calling them or her or him "gole profonde" - deep throats in the sphere of the church.

"I think theyre overworking 'objectively.' I do, too. But maybe they will stop overworking "intrinsically" to make up for it.

When authenticity gets to be as problematical as it seems to be these days, some lexicographic obscurantism probably feels comforting.

We know why Queen Elizabeth won't resign [big ears and wife]Why does BXVI hang on ? All cardinals have big ears.

" --- a public officials right to privacy ---"They certainly don't have that in the US. Who says that the Servants of the Servants of God should be skulking around bleating about leaks and a lack of privacy?It also gives an interesting new twist to wanting to take a leak." -- Give that man a medal." But what if it is a woman - or am I starry-eyed in thinking that a woman would have access to the info that is being leaked? Ya never know, kids.

Jimmy Mac --Women in the Vatican are a rarity. And I doubt they'd let one get anywhere near something important.

Jimmy Mac -- German Benedictine nuns take care of the papal household. We have heard enough lately about US religious women to know the extremes of which some have imagined them capable. Among the possible suspects in the document leakage case is someone yet unknown who had unusual access to the pope's quarters. If you are drafting this up as a novel, that has the makings of a good part.

Jack B. ==I read recently that the head nun at the papal household has a great deal of influence on the Pope. She has even been appointed to a dicastery. I think the article was in LaStampa, but, sorry, I can't find it.

Jack: if that is true, then those nuns would be able to hide VOLUMES of information in the flowing habits that they undoubtedly wear. Secret pocket could be sewn in. The possibilities are virtually limitless.You go, Benedictine nun! To the barricades! You have nothing to fear but fear itself - and being shuttled back to some unheated convent cell as punishment.

Jimmy Mac -- You may be right. Consider a nun always in the same plain habit (with big pockets) passing inconspicuously through the quarters every day as she discreetly does her mundane tasks. Who could be more invisible and have better access than she does? And, when a pair goes out for their daily walk, they're much better equipped to slip goods past security guards than with an odd briefcase or paper bag. I doubt that nuns get frisked. Fences are available to ease transfer to the author, according to La Repubblica. Motivation remains the question. Perhaps the three over-80 cardinals the Pope appointed to chase down leakers will report soon.

I think this Vatican episode is hilarious!God bless the leaker(s).(and B16 can go take a leaker. oops, he can't: he's celibate)

"Who could be more invisible and have better access than she does?"I suspect that to be true with almost ANY lone or almost lone woman in that Bastion of Maleness. Besides, their garb/dresses aren't nearly as fabulous as many that pass by them each and every day, so why pay attention to them?

It was a nun who discovered poor John Paul I dead in his bed, with papers in his hand, and glasses on.(But when the men took over, a man was credited with the discovery, and the papers and the glasses disappeared.)

Aha!It seems that the new book 'His Holiness" does posit a woman as the leaker. See the article in LaStampa by Andrea Tornielli which identifies source of the documens as "Maria as she is called". is sounding more and more like a Peter Sellars comedy. Only it's not funny.

I'd think this is funny except those who love to glorify Rome/Romanbita/Vatican need to get a balanced perspective.Then ther's the tomb opening overthere looking for a girl lonng missing whom a prominent exorcist posits was kidnapped and kiled because she was used for sex parties there.I wish that instead of trying to continue to project a pristine image, they'd stick to preaching the Gospel.

[...] 18 months in prison for stealing confidential Vatican documents that he leaked to the news media. As I had suspected, it appears the motive behind this caper is high-minded: What the butler saw as one of the few lay [...]

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