WikiLeaks has turned its spotlight on the Vatican by releasing a small collection of documents detailing a power struggle involving Pope Francis, a leading traditionalist cardinal and a Catholic order of knights, according to The Washington Post.
The documents don’t offer much new about a fight detailed by the media two years ago, the newspaper said. But the Wednesday release has sparked concern among Vatican watchers.
“The fact itself, WikiLeaks entering the internal affairs of the Vatican, is an alarm bell,” said Marco Politi, one longtime Vatican watcher. “The subject itself is not interesting. These are old diatribes, old fights. But the important thing will be the next step. Will there be a subsequent WikiLeaks (release) on something not previously revealed? Should WikiLeaks pull out stuff regarding pedophilia or banking scandals, then we would be on to something new.”
The leaked documents stem from the fight over leadership within the Knights of Malta that was found to have passed out contraceptives in some nations where the group did charitable work. A power struggle broke out between the pope and the sovereign Catholic order. Tensions were heightened by Cardinal Raymond Burke, a papal adversary, who was the group’s liaison to the Vatican, the Post said.
The pope forced the resignation of the order’s grand master.
The Vatican had said Matthew Festing offered to resign as grand master during an audience with the pope.
WikiLeaks said the pope “deeply undermined the Order’s independence and sovereignty.” Among the documents released was a letter the pope wrote to Cardinal Burke promising to keep watch on developments.
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