Vatican blamed for 'bogus dirt' that ousted Catholic editor

Whispers were reverberating around the corridors of the Vatican yesterday over incendiary claims by the editor of the Berlusconi family newspaper that the Holy See was the source of bogus documents sent to blacken the name of a Catholic editor.

Dino Boffo was forced to resign as editor of Italian Bishops' Conference daily Avvenire last September after an article by Vittorio Feltri, the Rottweiler editor of Il Giornale, claimed Boffo was a "renowned homosexual" who had been fined for harassing the wife of a man he was pursuing.

Mr Feltri later admitted the claims were based on bogus documents, which he said were sent to him. Although it emerged that Mr Boffo had made an out-of-court settlement with someone he had known 10 years earlier, Feltri apologised. By then relations between the church and Mr Berlusconi's government had gone into deep-freeze. Now, however, it has emerged that during a fence-mending lunch in Milan last week, Mr Feltri told Mr Boffo that "a very authoritative, and institutional source at the Holy See" had sent him the bogus dossier. Mr Boffo repeated the claims to another Catholic publication, Il Foglio, on 30 January. "A person in the church... contacted me and let me have the photocopies," he said.

Italian newspapers yesterday reported that the pope was concerned about the claims and that daggers might once again be drawn over the Boffo affair. Other senior church figures expressed alarm that the church may have been the source of the malicious documents. Monsignor Domenico Mogavero, Bishop of Mazara del Vallo in Sicily and head of judicial affairs for the Italian Bishops Conference, told La Repubblica he was "alarmed" by events.

"If the accusations against Boffo really originated from the church we are facing a moral situation, a sin," he said. "These events have damaged the church from the start. We hope they're not going to do so again." But Federico Lombardi, the Vatican press spokesman, dismissed Mr Feltri's claims as mischief-making. "I can categorically deny these claims, which are designed to create confusion and false rumours," he said.

Another leading church figure, close to the Pope, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, said the suggestion that someone in the Vatican had supplied the documents was "unthinkable". He raised the possibility that Mr Feltri had made the claims to conceal the real source of the dossier.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world