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Separating fact from fiction in Vatican leaks case

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Why is the Vatican blaming the media?

The Vatican’s No. 3 official has qualified the publication of the leaked memos as an "immoral act of unheard-of gravity," while Bertone has accused journalists of trying to "imitate Dan Brown," the popular Da Vinci Code novelist who made a cottage industry out of Vatican intrigue. While some media reports have been far-fetched, Vatican officials have failed to offer insight into the events revealed by the leaks that would help contradict the Hollywood-inspired interpretations of the events.

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And what about the Vatican Bank?

On May 24, the lay board of the Institute for the Works of Religion, usually known as the Vatican Bank, dismissed the bank’s president, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi. Officially, this was the consequence of Gotti Tedeschi’s weak leadership.

But Vatileaks documents show that he was at odds with Bertone over norms that should ensure that the Vatican is accepted into a European list of financially transparent countries. A leaked memo by one of the bank’s board members — American Carl Anderson, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus — contains a veiled accusation against Gotti Tedeschi as a possible source of the leaks.

Why does it all matter?

As the investigation is still ongoing, it is impossible to judge whether the scandal will have far-reaching consequences within the Vatican or for Benedict’s papacy. But one thing is sure: The scandal threw an unwelcome spotlight on the embarrassing disarray of the Catholic Church’s central government. That could well influence the next conclave, when cardinals might choose to elect a pope with a stronger grip on the Curia than Benedict.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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