Thou Shalt Not Leak: Vatican Interrogates Journalists In Search For Sources Of Prior Articles

Unknown-1It appears that the Obama Administrations is not alone in pursuing journalists in the search for whistleblowers and leakers. Emiliano Fittipaldi has revealed that he has been interrogated and faces charges from Holy See prosecutors. He was given a Vatican summons to appear to answer questions about his recently published book “Avarice.”

In 2013, Pope Francis oversaw the enactment of an anti-whistle-blowing law at the Vatican. However, Avarice was based on classified Holy See documents. Fittpaldi has stated that he views the case as an open effort to chill future sources from sharing embarrassing things about the Vatican — not exactly the image of Pope Francis.

Unknown-2Gianluigi Nuzzi, the journalist who broke the 2012 Vatileaks scandal, has also accused the Vatican of a scotched earth campaign and said that Pope Francis is presiding over a modern inquisition. He said that Vatican investigators want to learn about his sources in his book “The Merchants in the Temple.” The journalists have alleged that charity money was spent on refurbishing the houses of powerful cardinals and that the Vatican bank continues to shelter suspected criminals. It is a stinging account for a Vatican that has seen a resurgence of the faithful attracted to the image of Pope Francis as a reformer.

The primary target of the investigation is Angel Vallejo Baldo, a Spanish priest suspected of leaking the documents. He is currently in detention in the Vatican pending the outcome of the investigation. His alleged accomplice, Italian PR executive Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui, is also being investigated but was released from custody due to his cooperation. She has shifted blame back on Baldo and said that he acted alone.

The response of the Holy See is a classic effort to snuff out whistleblowers in the aftermath of Vatileaks which included highly inflammatory allegations against former pope Benedict XVI from his butler about intrigue and infighting in the upper echelons of the Church. Transparency has never been an embraced value in the Vatican and the new law was drafted to prevent any further such disclosures.

It is a disappointing disconnect for a Pope who has garnered so much praise (including from me). Indeed, he has already discussed many of the allegations in these books himself and pledged reform. The question then is why the Vatican is pursuing journalists and whistleblowers with such abandon and zeal. The Vatican should affirm that a free press is a recognized value even within the walls of the Holy See and drop this investigation.

19 thoughts on “Thou Shalt Not Leak: Vatican Interrogates Journalists In Search For Sources Of Prior Articles”

  1. I don’t understand why one would have to obey a Vatican summons, unless one lived there. If I received a summons from the Vatican, I would simply ignore it. Perhaps Italy has some mutual enforcement agreement with the city-state.

  2. I question some spelling here in the comments. Is it “The Holy See” or “The Holy Sea”? The later makes more sense. They have “Holy Water”. One would think that it came from the Holy Sea and not from some pedophile priest’s pee. Are would they say “pea”?
    We do not have religion back on Planet Remulak so this religion on Planet Earth is a bit difficult to untwine.
    I do not get why the pedophiles become priests or why a priest would then become a pedophile. Or why the serfs under the dome would put up with it since they have children at risk. Handing the kids over to the pedophile priests as “choir boy” seems to be a bit much. Any apparently the nuns do not perp the girls. But I heard that nuns who teach in grade school rap kids with rulers. I read about it on this blog.

  3. As someone who was raised Catholic, I champion any trend towards transparency. The people have the right to know what’s going on in their Church. The only truly protected confidential information should be confession, medical records of employees, and other protected information.

    Here in the US, personnel files are confidential. However, they are not immune to subpoena. And once those documents are introduced in court, it is my understanding that they are public record.

    Many companies protect their information, but the Holy See takes it to a whole other level. By classifying any information given or spoken to the Pope as confidential, it is merely fighting transparency. Unfortunately, the Vatican is not in the US, and is subject to its own laws.

    In which case, I applaud those who employ civil disobedience to disclose this information. They may still get in trouble with the Vatican, but right is right.

    The public light of scrutiny has a disinfecting effect. They need to throw the windows wide and clean house. And in my humble opinion, one of the first things they need to do is to allow women to be priests, and for priests to marry. The clergy is aging and there are no longer enough priests. There are very few people who think a monastic life of poverty is their calling, let alone those who actually plan to stick by the celibacy requirement. They need to throw open the pool of candidates, because they have obviously attracted the wrong sort, and those people are entrenched in the Church and protect their own. Plus it is absurd to expect a celibate priest to be competent to do marriage counseling for his congregation. Many other faiths and denominations allow women to be clergy and/or allow clergy to marry. Celibacy was not an original requirement of the Catholic clergy. It came about because of inheritance questions a thousand years ago. The Church was wealthy, and there came a question of who would inherit when an official passed away – his family, or would the wealth stay in the Church? Many denominations merely give their clergy housing allowance rather than buying property in the first place, neatly avoiding these problems.

    But the appeal of the Catholic Church is its long history of traditions. Many people turn to Protestant faiths if they want something different, rather than expect the Church to change at long last.

    But the Church is hypocritical. Homosexuality is quite common among the clergy. At least one seminary had to be shut down years ago because it had degenerated into a type of bath house. Think about it – who would the job of not ever getting married or dating women, and only living with other men appeal to? And yet they preach it is a sin. They need to make up their minds.

    The Church will change or it will wither. It has earned a reputation as a harborer of pedophiles. Pedophiles are attracted to any job that gives them access to children, but the Church often protected them when they were caught. It did not cooperate with police investigations. Many people have already voted with their feet. If they persist in this secretive behavior, they will lose more trust.

  4. hsk, In my world, an iconoclast is a good thing. I consider myself one. An iconoclast not only questions religion, but many conventional wisdom. They are skeptics. They think outside the box. They don’t concern themselves about what others think of their ideas. They speak their mind to kings and paupers. They are becoming more and more rare. Hopefully, after saying this, you are not offended by the label. If you are, I apologize and won’t call you an iconoclast again.

    1. As long as we have the same definition I’m good.

      As you get older you see more and more truths and more and more lies and they are easier to spot. Not always right, but keep reading and dissecting and anyone can get there. It just takes a lot of time.

  5. Nick this is from wiki: Not sure what you’re meaning with that term. You talking about me?

    Iconoclasm[Note 1] is the destruction of religious icons and other images or monuments for religious or political motives. In time, the word, usually in the adjectival form, has also come to refer to aggressive statements or actions against any well-established status quo. It is a frequent component of major political or religious changes. The term does not generally encompass the specific destruction of images of a ruler after his death or overthrow (damnatio memoriae). The destruction of religious icons by a group with another religion or culture is not considered iconoclasm.

  6. “That said, it’s unlikely their deepest impact lies in their contents. Instead, it’s more about the changed Vatican landscape these books both exemplify and exacerbate.
    In a phrase, they represent the death of the “Pontifical Secret.”

    “Pontifical secrecy” is a well-defined concept in Church law applying to several categories of information, such as materials related to the naming of bishops and reports from papal diplomats. More broadly, however, it evokes the assumption that all communication with the pope is confidential, and it’s always up to him, and him alone, to decide whether to make any of it public.

    That obviously didn’t happen here.

    Both Nuzzi and Fittipaldi had remarkable access to confidential material supposedly reserved to the pontiff – an audio recording of a meeting with Francis and senior cardinals, reports from papal study commissions, income estimates for various Vatican operations, and so on. There may be few genuine bombshells, but the leaks themselves are real.

    As a result, anyone who passes information to the pope today – no matter what it’s about, what form it takes, or how exalted their position supposedly is – needs to know there’s a good chance it will become public knowledge.

    Some may see all this as a welcome dose of transparency, arguing that Catholic faithful around the world have a right to know what’s unfolding in the corridors of power. Others will fret that the collapse of confidentiality will induce people to be less than candid with the pope, and perhaps ensure that some things never reach him at all.

    Still others will rue a breakdown of trust inside the Vatican, not to mention a lack of integrity among people who’ve pledged to maintain secrecy but acted otherwise.”


  7. I did not know that the Vatican had a government, a prosecutor, a very large territory. I question why anyone would travel inside the Vatican Pirate Territory if they had written a book about the pirates and pedophiles there. What the world needs is a full account of pedophile priesthood around the world and where the perps go when they get caught in say Philly. Do they leave the U.S. or just go to Manhattan? Why do we not have an international pedophile priest data base?

  8. hsk, I like iconoclasts. We are simpatico on Global Warming, but I respectfully disagree w/ you on 9/11.

    1. Nick, I have read a bunch but I surely am not an expert on the incident nor would I bet my soul on the truther position. G.W. Bush’s face when he first “allegedly” became aware of the first plane hitting the towers is, you must admit, priceless. He just continues to sit there like no big deal with a stupid look on his face. He is either extremely “can’t come up with a word” or he had to have known in advance. I know that this is not evidence. The material and circumstantial evidence is overwhelming to me. I surely don’t believe the NIST report.

      I will send for free a copy of my new and only book, The Achilles Heel; The IRS Notice Of Federal Tax Lien to the 1st five people that will actually read it. I discovered two years ago, the Notices of Federal Tax Liens being issued by the IRS and filed at the Counties, are materially flawed because the do not provide the authority, The Congressional Act or statute, the Tax Liability Giving Rise To The Lien, which is required by Statute for them to be legally sufficient as an enforceable lien. I present both the material and circumstantial evidence in the book. I was one of the parties that filed the “infamous” that very few people even know about, lawsuit against the administration trying to enforce a formal petition for redress of grievances, i.e. 62 questions relating to the Federal Individual Income Tax, that the Administration refused to answer after having served it on three separate occasions. The Federal Courts said they where not required to answer them. I wonder what that 1st amendment right is for?

  9. Nick, it does appear that this is true in general. People wonder why I am a 9/11 truther and don’t believe the Global Warming liars. Because you can’t trust those in government and it appears the higher up they are the more they are likely to be lying. It appears when the money is laid on the table, people are willing to do even horrendous things for it and to deny this human trait within a group where force is legalized, is just another form of lying and surely shows a lack of integrity or severe naivety.

    As you say Nick, those to the left even display a fascist trait in their dialog and comments, a mean spiritedness toward those who challenge their integrity or their willingness to take from the pubic treasury, that which does not justly belong to them. Just because you make up some excuse for doing so, does not means that you can justly defend the actions and rationale.

    9/11 had four motives. The insurance money, a major engineering flaw in the design and construction of the twin towers, The Patriot Act and the premise for wars on terror in Irag, Afghanistan and now Syria. America’s ruling oligarchy again stomped on the Citizens of the United States inalienable rights and anyone who challenges this is a demonized as a conspiracy nut.

  10. How hierarchal institutions protect their own butts. Pres. Obama signed and promoted the Whistle Blower Protection Act, yet has prosecutor more whistle blowers than any other President. Does the Act. really protect Whistle lowers or was it really created to protect high ranking public officials from their corruption to the purview of the public?

    1. hskiprob – wasn’t Obama going to be the most transparent President ever? Or do I miss remember?

  11. The farther left a student, professor, politician, Pope, etc. the more fascist they are. This isn’t a revelation, is it?

  12. The Vatican has never believed in a free press. There is no reason to think things are going change with a new Pope.

  13. Sad but true; another media created hero whose feet are most assuredly made of clay. Francis is no progressive or liberal. He is the Pope. He and Obama have many things in common including their ability to rhetorically charm the press into thinking that they are what they are not.

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