Saturday, June 23, 2018

Pope convenes cardinals to discuss leak scandal

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI convened a special meeting of cardinals Saturday for advice on how to deal with the Vatican's leaked documents scandal — another sign of the damage the leaks have done to trust in the Holy See's governance.

Benedict was already scheduled to attend a regular meeting of the heads of Vatican offices Saturday morning. The Vatican press office said he added a second meeting later in the day with other cardinals in a bid to try to "restore a climate of serenity and trust" in the church.

The Vatican said over the coming days he will meet with still more cardinals gathering in Rome for a church feast day on Friday to "continue the dialogue with the people who share the responsibility of the church's governance with him."

The Vatican has been scrambling to contain the damage after the leak of hundreds of Vatican documents exposed corruption, political infighting and power struggles at the highest level of the Catholic Church. The pope's butler, Paolo Gabriele, is under arrest at the Vatican, accused of aggravated theft after the pope's own documents were found in his Vatican City apartment.

One Holy See investigation into the links is a criminal one headed by Vatican gendarmes; there is also an internal probe led by a commission of three cardinals tasked with getting to the bottom of the scandal.

Last weekend Benedict met with the cardinal-led commission to learn details of some of the two dozen people they have questioned.

The meetings Saturday were another indication of the seriousness with which he has taken the scandal and the damage it has done to the trust that is supposed to form the basis of the Vatican's governance.

In another sign the Vatican was taking the matter seriously, it confirmed Saturday that it was bringing in the Fox News correspondent in Rome, Greg Burke, as a senior communications adviser to help the Vatican craft its communications strategy.

Burke, 52 and a member of the conservative movement Opus Dei, said he would be helping to shape the Vatican's message and make sure all Vatican departments stick to it. He is leaving Fox News to take the Vatican job.

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