Brief: Vatican attacks media for fabricated reports

Associate Press

VATICAN CITY (AP) – The Vatican lashed out Feb. 23 at the media for what it said has been a run of defamatory and false reports before the conclave to elect Pope Benedict XVI’s successor, saying they were an attempt to influence the election.

Italian newspapers have been rife with unsourced reports in recent days about the contents of a secret dossier prepared for the pope by three cardinals who investigated the origins of the 2012 scandal over leaked Vatican documents.

The reports have suggested the revelations in the dossier, given to Benedict in December, were a factor in his decision to resign. The pope himself has said merely that he doesn’t have the “strength of mind and body” to carry on.

On Saturday, the Vatican secretariat of state said the Catholic Church has insisted for centuries on the independence of its cardinals to elect their pope. Now, it said, the “pressures of public opinion” are in play in a bid to influence their vote.