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 CNS Story:

VATICAN-BERTONE Jun-18-2012 (370 words) xxxi

Denouncing leaks, top Vatican official likens journalists to Dan Brown

By Francis X. Rocca
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican Secretary of State blamed an ongoing scandal over leaked Vatican documents on unethical journalists and a spirit of hostility toward the Catholic Church.

"Many journalists play at imitating Dan Brown," said Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, in an interview with the Italian magazine Famiglia Cristiana. "They continue to invent fables or repeat legends."

Cardinal Bertone made his remarks as Vatican judges were investigating leaks to Italian journalists of dozens of documents, including letters to the pope and encrypted cables from Vatican embassies around the world, several of which hint at power struggles among officials of the Holy See.

"The truth is that there is a malicious will to produce division" among the collaborators of Pope Benedict XVI, the cardinal said.

The Catholic Church "is an unambiguous point of reference for innumerable persons and institutions around the world," he said. "For this reason some try to destabilize it, and shatter this rock, this 2,000-year old institution that continues to carry out its proper mission of witness, reconciliation, justice, unity, solidarity."

The cardinal likened the experience of the scandal, for the pope and Vatican officials, to that of the crucifixion.

Noting that the publication of private letters violates the Italian constitution's guarantee of a right to privacy, Cardinal Bertone lamented that stories of the church's extensive charitable works have been "intentionally ignored or erased" amid heavy press coverage of the scandal.

The cardinal expressed sorrow about the case of the pope's personal assistant, Paolo Gabriele, who has been charged with aggravated theft of documents in connection with the leaks.

"This betrayal of trust has been the most painful fact," he said. "The pope himself has asked several times, in a sorrowful manner, for an explanation of the motivations of the act of Paolo Gabriele, loved by him like a son."

Addressing another controversy, Cardinal Bertone denied that the dismissal last month of Ettore Gotti Tedeschi as president of the Vatican Bank represented any resistance to efforts to increase transparency at the institution, formally known as the Institute for Religious Works.

Gotti Tedeschi's firing was due to "a deterioration of relations among the board members, caused by disagreements," the cardinal said. "The desire for transparency of the (bank) is undeniable."


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