Feb 17, 2013

Breaking: Vatican Has Leaks and Fractures

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

The most compelling thing about the Washington Post's big, multi-page feature on the Vatileaked revelations of a "fractured Vatican" is that they waited until the pope announced his resignation to publish it. The book has long been out and its secrets revealed, at least to the Italian speaking world. The primary leaker has already been convicted and pardoned. And yet, the Post writes:

Much of the media — and the Vatican — focused on the source of the shocking security breach. Largely lost were the revelations contained in the letters themselves — tales of rivalry and betrayal, and allegations of corruption and systemic dysfunction that infused the inner workings of the Holy See and the eight-year papacy of Benedict XVI.

From there the article goes on to focus almost entirely on the scandal around Vatileaks and very little on the "tales of rivalry and betrayal." Most of this has already been covered elsewhere and the juicy bits are front-loaded. The upshot according to the Post? Pope Benedict XVI was a well-intended but weak leader who was outmaneuvered by his second, Tarcisio Bertone. Got it? The failure of Pope Benedict to accomplish much of anything was not his fault. He was just too "shy and cerebral" to fight the power.

The butler read letters fleshing out how Viganò, an ambitious enforcer of Benedict’s good government reforms, had earned powerful enemies. In early 2011, a series of hostile anonymous articles attacking Viganò began appearing in the Italian media. Under duress, Viganò appealed to the pope’s powerful second in command, Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone. Bertone was not sympathetic and instead echoed the articles’ complaints about his rough management style and removed Viganò from his post.

This set in motion a blizzard of letters that passed through the office Gabriele shared with the pope’s personal secretary. In one missive, Viganò wrote to Bertone accusing him of getting in the way of the pope’s reform mission; he also charged Bertone with breaking his promise to elevate him to cardinal. Viganò sent a copy of this letter to the pope. In a separate letter to the pontiff, Viganò dropped the Vatican’s “C word”: corruption.

. . .

Viganò’s efforts failed, and he was soon dispatched to Washington. Bertone and Viganò declined to comment.

Prognosis for future transformation? Not good, according to the Post.

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