Pope pledges to continue reforms in face of leaks
VATICAN CITY (AP):
In his first public comments on the latest scandal rocking the Vatican, Pope Francis told followers in St Peter's Square yesterday that the theft of documents describing financial malfeasance inside the Holy See was a "crime" but pledged to continue reforms of its administration.
The pope said that publishing the documents in two books released last week "was a deplorable act that doesn't help".
The books, Merchants in the Temple by Gianluigi Nuzzi and Avarice by Emiliano Fittipaldi, detail mismanagement and alleged greed in the Vatican and are seen as part of a bitter internal struggle between reformers and the old guard.
"This sad fact will certainly not divert me from the reform work that we are pursuing with my collaborators and with the support of all of you," the pope said to cheers from the crowd.
Among the disclosures in Merchants in the Temple, Nuzzi writes that the cost of sainthood can run up to half a million dollars and tells the tale of a monsignor who allegedly broke down the wall of his neighbour, an ailing priest, to expand his apartment.
Fittipaldi, meanwhile, claimed that a children's hospital foundation had paid €200,000 (US$215,000) towards the renovation of the apartment of the Vatican's No. 2 at the time, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and that nearly €400,000 donated by parishioners worldwide to help the poor was funnelled to pay for Vatican administration.
The pope underlined that the leaked documents were the result of the reform course that he began and that measures had already been taken to address problems, "with some visible results".