Vatican Downplays Corruption Charges

Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Vatican Press Office, criticized as “partisan...partial and banal” an Italian television news program that on Jan. 25 broadcast portions of letters addressed to Pope Benedict and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state. The letters were apparently signed by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, right, and written when he was the secretary general of the commission that governs Vatican City. One of the letters, dated April 4, 2011, said that when Archbishop Viganò took office almost two years earlier, he discovered “chaotic management” and overspending. The letter complained of a “media campaign” by opponents of his efforts at reform and implored the pope not to remove him from his job “even for promotion.” The pope named Archbishop Viganò nuncio to the United States in October 2011. Under his leadership a Vatican City budget deficit of nearly $9.8 million in 2009 turned into a surplus of $28 million in 2010.

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