Leaked documents reveal Vatican fractured by rivalries

A radical transformation of the culture is unlikely. “We’re talking about people who have given their life to this institution, but at the same time the institution has become their life,” said one senior Vatican official. “Unlike parish priests, who have the personal rewards that come with everyday contact, their lot is not as human. It’s bureaucratic, but it becomes all-consuming.” The entire debacle, he said, “wasn’t a communications crisis. It was a management crisis, ” reports The Washington Post.

The leak came from within the pope’s inner sanctum. On most mornings, the pope’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, left his apartment, just inside the Vatican walls, before 7 a.m. He walked past the plumed Swiss Guards and into the Apostolic Palace, where he worked in the third-floor papal apartments. His black gelled hair, dark suits and fleshy cheeks became so familiar around the Vatican Gardens that clerics affectionately called him Paoletto.

“I was the layman closest to the Holy Father,” Gabriele would later say. “There to respond to his immediate needs.”

The official duties for the married father of three included laying out Benedict’s white vestments and red shoes, serving his decaf coffee and riding with the pontiff in the popemobile. Unofficial chores included absconding with copies of the pope’s personal correspondence, including letters from Viganò, whose grievances Gabriele found especially compelling.

The butler read letters fleshing out how Viganò, an ambitious enforcer of Benedict’s good government reforms, had earned powerful enemies. In early 2011, a series of hostile anonymous articles attacking Viganò began appearing in the Italian media. Under duress, Viganò appealed to the pope’s powerful second in command, Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone. Bertone was not sympathetic and instead echoed the articles’ complaints about his rough management style and removed Viganò from his post.

This set in motion a blizzard of letters that passed through the office Gabriele shared with the pope’s personal secretary. In one missive, Viganò wrote to Bertone accusing him of getting in the way of the pope’s reform mission; he also charged Bertone with breaking his promise to elevate him to cardinal. Viganò sent a copy of this letter to the pope. In a separate letter to the pontiff, Viganò dropped the Vatican’s “C word”: corruption.

“My transfer right now,” he wrote, “would provoke much disorientation and discouragement in those who have believed it was possible to clean up so many situations of corruption and abuse of power that have been rooted in the management of so many departments.”

In another, he described more “situations of corruption” in which the same firms habitually won contracts at almost “double the cost” charged outside the Vatican. Viganò cited savings from cutting the amount spent on the annual Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square from 550,000 euros in 2009 to 300,000 euros in 2010.

Viganò’s efforts failed, and he was soon dispatched to Washington. Bertone and Viganò declined to comment.

FULL STORY Leaked documents show fractured Vatican full of rivalries (Washington Post)

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