Saturday, March 10, 2012

Rocking the Holy See – Economist

Rocking the Holy See – Economist
A string of leaked documents is shaking things up at the Vatican 

"  On March 7th, Anonymous, a hackers’ network, took credit for temporarily bringing down the Vatican’s website, calling the Catholic church "corrupt" and "retrograde". But the more dangerous attacks come from within the Holy See. Its police force, the Gendarmerie, is hunting for the source of an unprecedented string of leaks, most of them apparently intended to get Pope Benedict XVI to dismiss Tarcisio Bertone, who as secretary of state is the Vatican’s most senior official. The stakes are high. The pope will be 85 next month. And whoever is secretary of state when Benedict dies will play an important, perhaps decisive, role in choosing his successor.

Cardinal Bertone, who rose in the Vatican’s hierarchy as a close ally of Benedict’s, has many enemies within the high walls of the world’s tiniest independent state. His appointment in 2006 to head a department staffed by trained diplomats upset many who had come to expect they would be led by one of their own. But nobody, it is said, resented his promotion more than the man he replaced, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, some of whose former aides hold influential posts in the hierarchy.

Jovial but brash, Cardinal Bertone has clashed behind the scenes with both the head of the Catholic church in Italy and the boss of the Vatican bank, the Institute for Works of Religion. This second wrangle is particularly unfortunate. The Holy See is waiting to hear in June whether it qualifies for the “white list” of states that meet the European Union’s standards of financial transparency. The Vatican bank’s chief, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, is credited with a hard line on compliance. Reports of differences with Cardinal Bertone fuel suspicions (unfair or not) that the secretary of state favours laxity.  "  .......

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