Cardinals want to be briefed on secret ‘Vatileaks’ report
Pope Benedict had intended for the dossier to seen only by his successor, but there are suggestions that the cardinals want sight of it.
- Philip Pullella
- Vatican City
- March 5, 2013
Catholic cardinals in a closed-door meeting ahead of the election of a new pontiff want to be briefed on a secret report into leaks about alleged corruption and mismanagement in the Vatican, a senior source said on Monday.
More than 140 cardinals began preliminary meetings to sketch a profile for the next pope following the shock abdication of Pope Benedict last month and to ponder who among them might be best to lead a church beset by crises.
The meetings, called "general congregations," are open to cardinals regardless of age, although only those under 80 will later enter a conclave to elect a pope from among themselves.
The source, a prelate over 80 who was present at Monday's meetings, said the contents of the report came up during the morning session but declined to say if the requests to be briefed were made in the formal sessions or informal coffee break discussions or both.
"They want to be briefed on the report," said the cardinal, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "But it is a very long report and technically it is secret".
The report was prepared for Benedict, who is now "Pope Emeritus," by three elderly cardinals who investigated the so-called "Vatileaks" scandal last year. The three are attending the preliminary meetings but will not enter the conclave.
Paolo Gabriele, the pope's butler, was convicted of stealing personal papal documents and leaking them to the media. The documents alleged corruption and infighting over the running of its bank. Gabriele was jailed and later pardoned by Benedict.
Benedict decided to make the report available only to his successor but one Vatican official said the three elderly cardinals who wrote it could "use their discernment to give any necessary guidance" to fellow cardinals without violating their pact of secrecy about its specific contents.
At two news conferences on Monday, both the Vatican spokesman and two American cardinals refused to be drawn on the report and whether cardinals had asked to be briefed on it.
Specific matters discussed at the preliminary meetings are covered by secrecy.
"Certainly, there can be various members of the college of cardinals who want information they feel is useful or pertinent to the situation of the curia," spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said, referring to the central Vatican administration.
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