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Communiqué from the Secretariat of State

Since 23 January, especially in the Italian media, there has been an increasing abundance of news and reconstructions of the events connected with the resignation of the Editor-in-Chief of the Italian Catholic daily Avvenire . The intention is clearly to demonstrate the involvement in the affair of the Editor-in-Chief of L’Osservatore Romano. These reconstructions have even gone so far as to insinuate that the Cardinal Secretary of State was responsible. Such information and reconstructions are entirely unfounded.

In particular, it is not true that those in charge of the Vatican Gendarmeria or the Editor-in-Chief of L’Osservatore Romano passed on documents that are at the root of the resignation, last 3 September, of the Editor of Avvenire. Nor is it true that the Editor-in-Chief of L’Osservatore passed on – or in any way transmitted or availed himself of – information on these documents and it is untrue that he wrote or inspired under a pseudonym articles in other newspapers.

It seems clear from the proliferation of the most incredible arguments and hypotheses – repeated in the media with a truly remarkable consonance – that everything is based on unfounded convictions with the intention of attributing to the Editor-in-Chief of L’Osservatore Romano , in a manner both gratuitous and slanderous, an unmotivated, unreasonable and malicious action. This is giving place to a smear campaign against the Holy See which involves the Roman Pontiff himself.

The Holy Father Benedict XVI, who has been informed of everything, deplores these unjust and injurious attacks, renews his full trust in his collaborators and prays that those who truly have the Church's good at heart may use every possible means to establish truth and justice.

From the Vatican, 9 February 2010

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