Benedict XVI, the press and the stolen personal documents
Earnest June 1, 2012
Media VATICAN CITY—The case of the personal documents stolen from Pope Benedict XVI and
published by Italian press continues to attract the interest of
international media, to the point that in an impromptu speech at the end
of his weekly appointment with the faithful from around the world, the
Pope himself addressed it directly.
events of recent days", he said, "have brought sadness to my heart, but
never obscured my firm conviction that despite trials, difficulties and
weaknesses, the Lord does not abandon his Church."
continued the Pope "some entirely gratuitous allegations have spread,
amplified by some media, which went well beyond the facts, offering a
picture of the Holy See that does not correspond to reality." Pope
Benedict concluded, saying, "I would like therefore to reiterate my
confidence and my encouragement to my staff and to all those who, day in
and day out, faithfully and with a spirit of sacrifice, quietly help me
in fulfilling my ministry.''
One of those collaborators, Holy See
Press Office Director, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., met with press for a
third straight day Wednesday in a briefing that consisted largely in
deflating many of those rumors of which the Pope had spoken in his
He reiterated that the only person arrested and formally
charged for the theft of the Pope's personal documents remains Paolo
Gabriele and there are no others, lay or clergy, currently detained – as
reported by some press. That Gabriele met again Wednesday morning with
his lawyers who have formulated a request for his release under house
arrest. That his formal interrogation would take place in the coming
Fr. Lombardi again underlined that the official investigation
into the criminal act of theft is being carried out by the Vatican
Gendarme (police force) and magistrates. That the Commission of
Cardinals’ inquiry into the source of leaked Vatican documents was a
separate if parallel effort to arrive at the truth.
again corrected press claims that documents ready to be sent to specific
recipients were found in Gabriele’s home, but – he added - the material
found in the Butler's possession is still being studied and cataloged.
Lombardi again stressed the importance of truth and objectivity in
reporting on this case which is not only a source of pain for the Pope
but for the faithful worldwide.
"I think that our will to reach the
truth, the desire for clarity, for transparency - arrived at gradually
over time – this is how we are trying to handle this new situation: in
all honesty we are trying to understand what objectively happened. But
first, whatever we do, we must remember respect for the privacy and
protection of the person and for the truth".
In an interview with L'Osservatore Romano,
another of the Pope’s closest collaborators, Archbishop Angelo Becciu,
the Substitute of the Secretariat of State, stated that the Holy Father
was not merely "robbed of letters", but the act of stealing and
publishing those letters was an act of "violence on the consciences of
those who turn to him as Vicar of Christ in full confidence".
also dismissed the principal "that the end justifies the means". This
has been claimed by the anonymous sources who provided the leaked
documents to the press and the journalists who published them, in the
name of greater transparency and reform in the Church. How can any
reform, he asked, be based on flouting moral laws? Stealing is immoral.
to journalists questions on reports of the Pope’s possible resignation
Fr. Lombardi dismissed the rumors as some journalists' "hobbyhorse".
The Curia he concluded - "continues to express solidarity with the Pope
and to operate in full communion with the Successor of Peter. At this
time and in this situation we can only express our great appreciation
for the Holy Father, for his ministry, his demonstration of unity,
coherence and consistency in dealing with this situation."
perhaps it was best put by Benedict XVI, who in his Wednesday audience
observed: "Faced with conflict in human relationships, even within the
family, often we fail to persevere in gratuitous love, which demands
effort and sacrifice. Instead, God does not tire of us, He never grows
tired of being patient with us and with his immense mercy He is always
before us, He always comes to encounter us."