FaithWorld

Cardinals want to be briefed on secret “Vatileaks” report

March 4, 2013

(Cardinals attends a meeting at the Synod Hall in the Vatican March 4, 2013. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano)

Catholic cardinals in a closed-door meeting ahead of the election of a new pontiff want to be briefed on a secret report into leaks about alleged corruption and mismanagement in the Vatican, a senior source said on Monday.

More than 140 cardinals began preliminary meetings to sketch a profile for the next pope following the shock abdication of Pope Benedict last month and to ponder who among them might be best to lead a church beset by crises.

The meetings, called “general congregations,” are open to cardinals regardless of age, although only those under 80 will later enter a conclave to elect a pope from among themselves.

The source, a prelate over 80 who was present at Monday’s meetings, said the contents of the report came up during the morning session but declined to say if the requests to be briefed were made in the formal sessions or informal coffee break discussions or both.

“They want to be briefed on the report,” said the cardinal, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “But it is a very long report and technically it is secret”.

The report was prepared for Benedict, who is now “Pope Emeritus,” by three elderly cardinals who investigated the so-called “Vatileaks” scandal last year. The three are attending the preliminary meetings but will not enter the conclave.

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It isn’t at all clear whether the concept “fudiciary responsibility” applies to the Vatican. The Vatican is still run with the idea that the “prince” controls everything.

They want to be briefed? They should all demand that they are given complete copies of the Vatileaks report and anything else related to financial affairs of the Catholic Church. They are the College of Cardinals and one of them will become pope. If there’s any source of fiscal accountability in the Vatican it should start with that college. They are the self-styled inheritors of the Roman Senate, after all, and is why they wear red. When the Senate closed in doors in the 5th century AD the College of Cardinals took over those responsibilities.

The last few Popes have never blanched at making appointments to the college and most of the time it seems intended to preserve theological points of view.
The Cardinals and Bishops have to have some business sense in their own diocese, so why does that sense stop at the walls of the Vatican?

I’m a little surprised at how little they are kept informed. I doubt protestant congregations would settle for restricted financial reports or examinations of criminal activity. If anybody should get at least yearly financial statements from the Vatican, it should be the College of Cardinals. That used to be their job.

But the Vatican imposes a vow of obedience on all clerics. It arises, I think, from the assertion I used to hear, that the Catholic Church on earth is the “Church Militant” and the clergy patterns itself on a military chain of command.

I’m sure the Mafia knows soft spots and easy pickings when it sees them. They liked “vows of obedience” too, but they enforce theirs a little differently.

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