Vatican warns of false speculation
Secretariat of State decries distribution of unverifiable or completely false resignation news
Increased media speculation about the Holy Father’s resignation has led the Vatican Secretariat of State and the Pope’s official spokesman to warn about ‘completely false and unverifiable’ news stories aimed at swaying public opinion to influence the vote for Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
“It is deplorable that as we draw closer to the time of the beginning of the conclave… that there is a widespread distribution of often unverified, unverifiable or completely false news stories, that cause serious damage to persons and institutions,” the February 23 statement from the Secretariat of State said.
Italian newspapers and the international press have been filled in recent days with theories about both the reasons Pope Benedict has stepped down and about how he would spend his last days.
Fr Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, in an editorial on Vatican Radio’s website, warned that there were people using ‘gossip, misinformation and sometimes slander’ to discredit the Church.
He said that those speculating on the reasons behind the Pontiff’s departure ‘present themselves as moral judges, making heavy moral judgments’ but ‘do not, in truth, have any authority to do so.’
“Whoever has money, sex and power at the forefront of their mind sees the world through these parameters and cannot see beyond, even when looking at the Church,” he said. “Their view cannot look to the heights or go in-depth to understand the spiritual dimensions and motivations of existence.”
- This story was reported in full in the March 1 print edition of the SCO.