Pope Francis says Leaks won’t deter him from reform agenda

Pope Francis waves during his Sunday Angelus prayer in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Nov. 8, 2015. (REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi)

By Rosie Scammell  in National Catholic Reporter,  Nov. 9, 2015

(During Pope Benedict’s time it was “Vatileaks”. It led to his resignations. But this report says Francis is not the same king of fish. He is determined to confront the thieves in the ship (Bark of Peter) He says nothing will  “deter me” from his reform process. jk,editor)

VATICAN CITY:Pope Francis on Sunday, Nov. 8, broke his silence over the leaking of confidential Vatican documents, which he described as a “deplorable act” that will not stand in the way of his ambitious reform agenda.

Speaking to followers in St. Peter’s Square, the pontiff criticized revelations made in two books published last week that explore Francis’ efforts to overhaul financial mismanagement within the Vatican walls.

“Stealing those documents was a crime. It’s a deplorable act that does not help,” the pope said, adding that the leaked information was based on a study he had personally requested.

“I wish to reassure you that this sad event certainly does not deter me from the reform project that we are carrying out, together with my advisers and with the support of all of you,” said Francis, telling his followers they should not be upset by recent events.

His comments follow the arrest last weekend (Oct. 31-Nov. 1) of a Spanish priest, the Rev. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, and an Italian public relations executive, Francesca Chaouqui, accused of being involved in leaking confidential information. The duo had been appointed by the pope to a temporary commission set up in 2013 to reform the Vatican bureaucracy.

The challenges faced by the commission in seeking to gather information on spending at the Holy See administration, known as the Curia, were outlined in two books based on secret audio recordings and documents handed over to the authors.

Both Gianluigi Nuzzi’s Merchants in the Temple and Emiliano Fittipaldi’sAvarice, describe a prevailing culture of waste and secrecy within the Curia that has hampered Francis’ reform efforts. While both books outline mismanagement at the heart of the Vatican, the pontiff is afforded an air of sympathy for his attempts to bring financial discipline to the Holy See.

But during his homily at Friday Mass the pope appeared to take aim at those within the Catholic Church whose greed has been highlighted by the two authors.

“In the church, too, there are these kinds of people, who instead of serving, of thinking of others, of laying the foundations, are served by the church: ‘climbers,’ those who are attached to money,” the pontiff said.

There has been speculation that the two books could damage Francis as a previous leak hurt his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI. In 2012, Benedict’s aide, Paolo Gabriele, was jailed over the theft of documents but later pardoned. The scandal is thought to have contributed to Benedict’s decision to resign in February 2013.Others argue Francis may emerge as the victor in the reform battle.

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