Vatican: Spokesman blasts reports of accomplices in leaks scandal
last update: July 23, 16:34
Vatican City, 23 July (AKI) - Spokesman Federico Lombardi has sharply criticised recent media claims that several of Pope Benedict XVI's oldest associates were accomplices in the leaks of confidential Vatican documents, calling the reports 'unojective', 'unfounded' and 'false'.
"Newspaper articles have been published in recent days in Italy and Germany on the subject of investigations into the leaking of reserved Vatican documents, articles which hint at serious suspicions of complicity on the part of certain persons close to the Holy Father," Lombardi said Monday in a statement.
"The Secretariat of State expresses its firm and total disapproval of those publications, which are not based on objective criteria and seriously damage the honour of the people concerned, who have served the Holy Father faithfully for many years".
The media reports speculated that Ingrid Stampa, an employee of the Vatican Secretariat of State, Cardinal Paolo Sardi and Bishop Joseph Clemens may have testified before the 'Vatileaks' commission, but Lombardi downplayed the claims.
"Many have been called to appear, but this says nothing about their being suspected of shared responsibility or 'complicity,'" he said.
Lombardi also denied the media reports that the three had been dismissed by the Vatican.
The sole official suspect in the 'Vatileaks' scandal, the Pope's butler Paolo Gabriele, has been granted house. Gabriele, 46, was arrested on 23 May after documents and copying equipment were found at his apartment in the Vatican
The Vatican launched a probe after an Italian investigative journalist published secret documents including private papal correspondence that revealed corruption and venomous intrigue between rival groups of cardinals.
Gabriele is accused of 'aggravated theft' and if sent to trial and convicted faces six years in prison.
Gabriele's lawyer claims he acted alone out of love for the Pope, who he wanted to help. But several Vatican watchers have said that Gabriele must have had at least some help and was possibly manipulated.
A commission of cardinals that has questioned 28 lay people and clergy in the the "Vatileaks" scandal had submitted a report to the Pope, Lombardi stated.
"The fact that the results of the investigations have not yet been made known by the authorities concerned, in no way legitimises the publication of unfounded and false interpretations and theories," Lombardi said.
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