Rome, Italy, Jan 25, 2004 / 22:00 pm
The controversy about the Pope’s words in reaction to Mel Gibson’s film is “a wake-up call about the dangers of reliance on anonymous sources, a fact of reporting life in the Vatican,” said Catholic journalist John Allen.
In his weekly column “Word from Rome”, Allen said the “he said, she said” saga in the press over the Pope’s comments makes reporters “look like naïfs who have been spun every which way, or worse yet, like willing partners in someone's dishonesty.”
Allen said officials at the Vatican “rarely speak on the record,” so Vatican reporters are constantly dealing with unnamed sources. “This incident,” wrote Allen, “undoubtedly has raised the bar on caution for all of us.”
But those who come out looking the worst in the whole affair is the Vatican, Allen said.