'The pope must be told': author defends Vatileaks book

VATICAN CITY, HOLY SEE- The Italian author of a controversial book containing leaked Vatican documents said Tuesday he had put pen to paper to inform Pope Francis about corruption and greed within the city state.
Emiliano Fittipaldi, whose book "Avarice: Documents Revealing Wealth, Scandals and Secrets of Francis' Church" is published on Wednesday, told a press conference he was baring the Church's ills for the pope's sake.

He described how some of the leaked documents were handed to him by a monsignor and priest who told him he had a duty to warn the pontiff some of the Church's top figures had their hands in the money jar.
"You must write a book. You must write it for Francesco too. He has to know," the monsignor told Fittipaldi over a lunch of tuna carpaccio washed down with a bottle of expensive wine, according to the book's introduction,
The cleric told the journalist he would hand over large boxes of confidential documents spilling the beans on some of the Vatican's most embarrassing secrets -- such as how Church foundations for sick children act as bank accounts for cardinals.
A furious Vatican on Monday denounced Fittipaldi's book and a second Vatileaks tome by another Italian journalist.
Authorities in the city state arrested a Spanish prelate and Italian PR consultant for allegedly leaking documents believed to have ended up in the books, saying the excuse "I did it for the pope" did not wash.
"I understand that the Vatican is worried," Fittipaldi said. "An investigation like this can be worrying because it reveals the distance between the pope's position on poor people and the real workings of the Vatican machine".
He told journalists that attempts to clean up the Vatican's scandal-tainted bank was "a pipe dream" and described Cardinal George Pell, one of the pope's close allies, as being a profligate spender on staff and luxury furnishings.
He said former Vatican secretary of state Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone redirected funds from a Vatican-run hospital to do up his loft apartment and ran up outlandish expenses including a 23,800 euro ($26,400) helicopter ride in 2012.
Fittipaldi also said he had access to documents showing that the Saint Peter's Pence offerings sent to the Vatican from parishes around the world -- totalling some 378 million euros in 2013 -- ended up in an account used largely to pay for Vatican bureaucracy rather than for charitable purposes.
Francis was tasked by his cardinal electors to stamp his authority on the bickering Curia, the Church's governing body, and clean up the Vatican bank -- but the fresh leaks have fuelled criticisms of his reform programme.
"The reform process is slow, Francis has not resolved everything," the journalist said.

Tuesday, November 3rd 2015

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