Power Struggle Between Vatican, Pope's Secretary of State

WBALTV Analysts said there is a power struggle going on between factions inside the Vatican and that the pope's deputy Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone, is in the middle of it.

Bertone is considered by some to be an outsider because he didn't come from the Vatican diplomatic corps and didn't have diplomatic experience.

"There is a great discontent within in the Roman Curia," said Marco Politi. "The out-products of this discontent are back-stabbing, intrigues, anonymous letters about plots, but the main thing is that Cardinal Bertone, who is the Secretary of State, was never accepted by the Curia because he was an outsider."

Cardinal Delegate Timothy Dolan said: "I see the successor of Peter, the chief pastor of the church longing to tend to pastoral, spiritual issues. And I am sure if there is anybody frustrated about reports of internal infighting, it is he. And if I, as a new member of the College of Cardinals, can help him keep the church universal and the government of the church universal, the Holy See, riveted on the issues of the gospel, I would be honored to and I would take that as one of my duties."


The Vatican spokesman has been doing serious damage control of late amid reports and leaked documents alleging corruption in the running of the Vatican city state, money laundering at the Vatican bank and political infighting between opposing camps within the Vatican bureaucracy.

The scandal began last month with the publication of letters from the former No. 2 Vatican administrator, who begged the pope not to be transferred after he exposed millions of euros in cost overruns. He was then removed and named the Vatican's U.S. ambassador in Washington.

Subsequent news reports focused on four priests under investigation for allegedly using Vatican bank accounts to launder cash. The pope's top banker, meanwhile, remains under investigation for allegedly breaking Italy's anti-money laundering law by trying to transfer cash from two Vatican bank accounts without identifying the sender or the recipient. He has denied wrongdoing.

More recent leaks have included a Vatican document warning of a plot to kill the pope this year - a scenario that has since been discredited - and of an internal debate over the scope and power of the Vatican's new financial watchdog and whether the Holy See's newly minted anti-money laundering law was actually any better than its predecessor.

The scandal, dubbed "Vatileaks" after Lombardi himself noted the similarities to the Wikileaks documents scandal that hit the U.S. government, has come as the Vatican has tried to clean up its finances and be more transparent in its financial dealings to comply with international norms.

The Vatican hopes to get on the so-called "white list" of countries that share information to crack down on tax evasion, aiming to forever erase its reputation as a secrecy-obsessed offshore tax haven.

The latest reports certainly haven't helped its bid.

In an editorial this week, Lombardi said the leaks "tend to create confusion and bewilderment, and to throw a bad light on the Vatican, the governance of the church, and more broadly on the church herself."

"We must, then, remain calm and keep our nerve, make use of reason - something which not all media outlets tend to do," he said.

The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano took up the charge as well, saying in a front-page editorial this week that Benedict was fighting unnamed, irresponsible "wolves." The pope himself made a vague reference to the rumors during a meeting with seminarians Wednesday when he said a lot was being said about the church in these days.

"Let's hope that our faith, the exemplary faith of this church, is also talked about," he said.