Rorate Caeli

Embarrassing denial by the Holy See

The Bollettino of the Holy See Press Office reports (other link to the same content):


Having checked the necessary information with the Secretariat of State, this Press Office is [now] in a position to clarify that the news published this morning by newspapers regarding a cleric in the service of the Vatican is completely devoid of any [factual] foundation.

It is assumed that legal remedies will be pursued against those who contributed to defame the good name of aforesaid employee.

What is this strange communique about? The news is unpleasant, and though I had been aware of it before, I would not mention it if the Holy See Press Office ITSELF had not raised the issue: La Repubblica, Il Giornale, and other respectable newspapers published the information.

"He was in his car, a Ford Focus, between Valle Giulia and Villa Borghese, perhaps waiting for a date with a transexual. When policemen approached the vehicle to check, he, C.B., 48 years old, a monsignor with the Secretariat of State and resident in the Vatican, tried to escape, hitting three cars. Still not satisfied, and in panic, the prelate, stopped by police officers, would have reacted [physically] and the 'cops' ended up in the hospital. The prelate will now respond before a judge for disrespect [of authority] and [unlawful] resistance."

La Repubblica adds that the priest lives "in the Saint Martha Residence" (Domus Sanctae Marthae, where the Cardinals are housed during conclaves) and tells its readers that the area in which the priest parked his car, in the middle of the night, "is known as an area of male prostitution and transexuals". La Repubblica reports that, after being questioned, the priest "admitted having been" in the area "to meet only adults, not minors".

Well, so the Press Office denies this scandalous piece of news -- but it is still full of embarrassing details, which would probably not be picked up by many different serious newspapers, of opposite editorial positions, out of thin air... The very fact that such news is considered believable and that it is not immediately dismissed as absurd by the serious press is, by itself, a terrible sign. Vatican officials must not only be innocent, but must never be under the suspicion of impurity, as CÆSAR declared of his family: "Quoniam meos tam suspicione quam crimine iudico carere oportere." ("Because I maintain that the members of my family should be free from suspicion, as well as from accusation.")