Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Through the spread of "unverified, unverifiable, or completely false" reporting that "damages people and institutions" there is an attempt underway to influence the cardinals on the eve of the conclave. This is the strong warning contained in a note from the Vatican Secretariat of State, released today, which deplores the fact that the widespread news reports "fail to capture the spiritual aspect of this moment in the life of the Church."
"The freedom of the College of Cardinals, which alone, under the law" - reads the statement - is responsible for the election of the Roman Pontiff, has always been strongly defended by the Holy See, as a guarantee of a choice based on evaluations solely for the good of the Church.
Over the centuries, the Cardinals have faced multiple forms of pressure exerted on the individual voters and the same College, with the aim of conditioning decisions, to bend them to a political or worldly logic.
If in the past the it was the so-called superpowers, namely States, who sought to condition the election of the Pope in their favour, today there is an attempt to apply the weight of public opinion, often on the basis of assessments that fail to capture the spiritual aspect of this moment in the life of the Church.
It is regrettable that, as we draw near to the beginning of the Conclave when Cardinal electors shall be bound in conscience and before God, to freely express their choice, news reports abound which are often unverified or not verifiable, or even false, even subsequent damage to people and institutions.
It is in moments such as these, that Catholics are called to focus on what is essential: to pray for Pope Benedict, to pray that the Holy Spirit enlighten the College of Cardinals, to pray for the future Pope, trusting that the fate of the barque of St. Peter is in the hands of God ".
Father Federico Lombardi also addresses the same issue in an editorial for Vatican Radio, in which he has denounced "the multiplication of the pressures and considerations that are foreign to the spirit with which the Church would like to live this period of waiting and preparation."
He adds: "There is no lack, in fact, of those who seek to profit from the moment of surprise and disorientation of the spiritually naive to sow confusion and to discredit the Church and its governance, making recourse to old tools, such as gossip, misinformation and sometimes slander, or exercising unacceptable pressures to condition the exercise of the voting duty on the part of one or another member of the College of Cardinals, who they consider to be objectionable for one reason or another. In the majority of cases, those who present themselves as judges, making heavy moral judgments, do not, in truth, have any authority to do so. Those who consider money, sex and power before all else and are used to reading diverse realities from these perspectives, are unable to see anything else, even in the Church, because they are unable to gaze toward the heights or descend to the depths in order to grasp the spiritual dimensions and reasons of existence. This results in a description of the Church and of many of its members that is profoundly unjust".