Pope rounds on rival cardinals and their 'sins against unity'
Ash Wednesday speech hints Vatican power struggles were real reason for shock resignation
Pope Benedict used last night's Ash Wednesday mass to deliver a withering and extraordinary blast at the warring factions in the Vatican's upper-echelons, whose power struggles many believe influenced the Pontiff's historic decision to stand down.
Earlier on Wednesday, during the general audience, the Pontiff had alluded to the need for church figures to avoid the temptations of power and privilege.
But yesterday evening his warning was clearer. “We must reflect on how the face of the Church is marred by sins against unity and division of the ecclesiastical body. We must overcome individualism and rivalry,” he told great and the good of the curia assembled in St Peter’s Basilica. “The true disciple does not serve himself or the public, but the Lord.
“Many are ready to get on their high horse over scandals and injustices – obviously committed by others – but few seem able to act according to the real wishes of their own hearts and consciences.”
Pundit Gerard O’Connell of the Vatican Insider said: “This was a very, very, clear and strongly worded speech. It was an appeal for an end to the personal rivalries and of people competing to put themselves in high profile positions. I think Benedict is passing messages to the cardinals and to those who will succeed him.”
Benedict cited advancing age and declining health in his resignation announcement on Monday. Reports suggest the head injury he sustained after falling during a trip to Mexico last year was another factor behind his shock decision to stand down.
Many have speculated that a raft of scandals within the Vatican lies, at least in part, behind his decision to quit, however.
Those scandals culminated last year with the conviction of Paolo Gabriele, the pope's ex-butler, who was found guilty of leaking confidential papal memos suggesting corruption and intrigue within the Holy See to the Italian press.
But many Vatican watchers believe a confidential report into Vatileaks commissioned by Benedict may have revealed evidence of power struggles and a more far-reaching conspiracy to discredit his papacy and his deputy, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
La Repubblica newspaper suggested that Benedict’s criticism yesterday may have been aimed at three of the Vatican’s most powerful figures: the secretary of state Cardinal Bertone, his predecessor, Angelo Sodano, the current dean of the College of Cardinals, and the head of the Bishops Conference, Angelo Bagnasco.
It claimed that Cardinal Bertone was already at loggerheads with his two rivals as senior figures jockeyed for power and influence in the run up to the Conclave in mid-March, which will elected Benedict’s successor.
Meanwhile, as one of last significant appointments under Benedict’s reign, a new head of the Vatican Bank, the IOR, in expected within the next few days. Pundits believe a foreigner is likely to be brought in to clean up bank’s reputation.
The IOR has been without a president since May 2012 when its Italian head Ettore Gotti Tedeschi resigned, following a no-confidence vote by the board of directors of the bank. This provoked a series of accusation and counter claims between Mr Tedeschi and the Holy See regarding the management of the scandal-hit financial institution.
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 3 World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 GamerGate: developer Tim Schafer provokes rage with joke about online gaming activists at industry awards
Harrison Ford plane crash: Actor will make full recovery thanks to 'beautifully executed' landing
Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
Oxford whistleblower's attempt to protect young victim of a sadistic gang went unheeded
How Homer Simpson discovered the Higgs boson over a decade before scientists
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Elif Shafak: Turkish author warns against rise of British nationalism
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...
£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...
£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...
£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A long-established, technology rich ...