Secretariat of State to scrutinize Vatican agencies’ statements

Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone

.- The Vatican’s Secretariat of State plans to take greater control over the publication of documents produced by Vatican agencies.

The move follows widespread disquiet within the Roman Curia after last month’s publication from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace which advocated the creation of a global financial authority.

Veteran Vatican correspondent Sandro Magister wrote Nov. 10 in L’Espresso’s religious affairs website Chiesa that a meeting was convoked Nov. 4 by the Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, to discuss the issue.

Magister says that Cardinal Bertone complained he did not know about the document until the last moment and only after the media had been informed about a press conference to launch it.

He also claims that Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, the president of the Institute for the Works of Religion, did not agree with the economic analysis in the publication.
 
According to Magister, the conclusion of the summit was a “binding order” which has gone out to all the offices of the Curia. That order clearly states that from now on nothing in writing is to be released without first being inspected and authorized by the Secretariat of State.
 
The details of the order and where it was sent, were confirmed for CNA by sources in the Curia.

Vatican insiders, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told CNA that the production process of the Justice and Peace document seemed to lack their expected degree of consultation and approval with the two main curial departments – the Secretariat of State and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The Justice and Peace document, entitled “Towards reforming the international financial and monetary systems in the context of a global public authority,” was unveiled to the media on Oct. 24. It attempted to analyze the present economic crisis as well as provide some possible solutions, including a tax on international financial transactions.

At the press conference to present the document, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., stressed that the publication was “not an expression of papal magisterium,” and that it would be wrong to attach the words “Pope Benedict says,” to any subsequent reporting of it. However, he did add that the document was an “authoritative note of a Vatican agency.”

CNA learned that some Vatican officials felt that while Fr. Lombardi’s formulation was technically correct, it was so nuanced that it created confusion in the minds of the media and general public about the authority of the document.

Consequently, all documents will now have to be cleared well in advance by the Secretariat of State.

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