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Pope scrambling to ‘restore trust’ in the church following Vatican leaks

Pope Benedict XVI convened a special meeting of cardinals Saturday to get their advice about how to deal with the scandal over leaked Vatican documents, another sign of the damage the leaks have done to trust in the Holy See’s governance.

Benedict was already scheduled to attend a regular meeting of the heads of Vatican offices Saturday morning. The Vatican press office said he had added a second meeting later in the day with other cardinals in a bid to try to “restore a climate of serenity and trust” in the church.

And the Vatican said he would meet over the coming days with still more cardinals who will be gathering in Rome for a church feast day on Friday to “continue the dialogue with the people who share the responsibility of the church’s governance with him.”

The Vatican has been scrambling to cope with the leaks of hundreds of Vatican documents exposing corruption, political infighting and power struggles at the highest level of the Catholic Church.

The Pope’s butler has been arrested in the case, accused of aggravated theft after the Pope’s own documents were found in his Vatican City apartment.

The Vatican is conducting two main investigations into the leaks: a criminal one headed by the Vatican gendarmes that led to the arrest of the butler, Paolo Gabriele, and another internal probe led by a commission of three cardinals tasked with getting to the bottom of the scandal.

Last weekend Benedict met with the cardinal’s commission to learn details of some of the two dozen people they have questioned.

The meetings Saturday were another indication of the seriousness with which he has taken the scandal and the damage it has done to the trust that is supposed to form the basis of the Vatican’s governance.

In its statement, the Vatican said the regularly scheduled meeting with department heads, aimed at coordinating the Vatican’s work, was “today particularly important and urgent to show efficient witness to the union of spirit that animates the Curia.”

The second meeting Saturday includes Vatican cardinals and the archbishops of Sydney and retired vicar of Rome — two long-time papal advisers. — Sapa

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