Vatican official resigns after ‘lettergate’

What happened?

The Vatican’s communications chief has resigned after being accused of manipulating a letter from Benedict XVI. Mgr Dario Viganò had asked Benedict to endorse a series of books on the theology of Pope Francis. Benedict declined, criticising the choice of authors. Mgr Viganò partially concealed these sections – his staff blurred the photograph – instead quoting Benedict’s more positive words. Mgr Viganò said the furore had “destabilised” his reform efforts.

What the media are saying

The story “did not look good,” said Jason Horowitz in the New York Times. Especially given that Pope Francis “released a major document in January condemning ‘fake news’ ”. Horowitz observed: “Even by the Vatican’s minimal standards of transparency, doctoring the letter of a retired pope to make him seem more supportive of his successor turns out to be a bit much.”

Nicole Winfield of Associated Press said that “Benedict objected to one of the authors in the volume [Peter Hünermann] because he had been a long-time critic of Benedict and St John Paul II.” Because Viganò removed this passage, his “effort to show papal continuity effectively backfired. Benedict’s harsh criticism of Hünermann laid bare the differences in theological approaches of the two popes.”

What Catholic media are saying

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