Vatican refutes 'false' reports on plot to oust catholic editor

The Vatican on Tuesday issued an unusually strong-worded statement rebutting reports that the resignation last year of the editor of an Italian bishops’ newspaper was the result of a behind-the-scenes Holy See power struggle.

Dino Boffo, a well-known figure in Italian Catholocism, resigned in September 2009 as editor of L’Avvenire after Il Giornale, a newspaper allied to Silvio Berlusconi and owned by the conservative premier’s brother, suggested he had been involved in a homosexual affair.

Since his resignation several newspapers have attempted to identify possible machinations behind the fall of Boffo who, in several editorials for L’Avvenire, had criticised the private life lead by sex-scandal plagued Berlusconi.

The Vatican statement said that some recent reports, especially in Italian media, had the “evident intention,” of implicating the editor of the Vatican’s official newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Gian Maria Vian, in the Boffo resignation.

“Even going so far as to insinuate the responsibility of the Cardinal Secretary of State,” it added—a reference to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

“These news items and reconstructions have no basis whatsoever in fact,” the Vatican said.

Il Giornale‘s editor Vittorio Feltri has since admitted that the incriminating document his paper published, allegedly a court transcript, was false.

In some reports, whose sources were not identified, it was alleged that Bertone employed Vian, who in turn tasked the head of Vatican security, Domenico Giani, to pass on the false document to Feltri.

The Vatican’s statement was categorical in denying any of these reconstructions describing them as having been proliferated with “malicious intent”.

“This giving rise to a defamatory campaign against the Holy See, which even involves the Roman Pontiff,” it added.

“The Holy Father Benedict XVI, who has been kept constantly informed, deplores these unjust and injurious attacks, renews his complete faith in his collaborators, and prays that those who truly have the good of the Church to heart may work with all means to ensure that truth and justice triumph,” the statement concluded.—Sapa

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