Vatican: Secret Dossier For "Pope's Eyes Only"

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 25 2013 12:54 PM

The Vatican Says Its Secret Dossier Is "For the Pope's Eyes Only"

162643417
Members of the public shelter from the rain near St Peter's Square ahead of Pope Benedict XVI's last public audience on February 25, 2013 in Vatican City

Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Remember that secret papal dossier we told you about on Friday? The one that reportedly details a wide range of problems within the Vatican, from inappropriate dealings at its bank to the existence of an "underground gay network" of church officials who have been the subject of blackmail? Well, it looks like it's going to remain a secret.

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

A Vatican spokesman told reporters today that only four people have actually seen the dossier: Pope Benedict himself, and the three cardinals who were tasked with compiling it as part of their investigation into last year's "Vatileaks" scandal. That number will increase by one in the near future, but won't climb any higher, according to the Vatican. Via ABC News:

Pope Benedict XVI decided to keep secret the contents of an investigative report on the “Vatileaks” scandal, ruling that the only person who will get to see it will be the next pope. ... The Vatican statement pointedly added: "The Holy Father has decided that the acts of this investigation, known only to himself, remain solely at the disposition of the new pope."
Many here had expected the investigating cardinals, who are too old to participate in the conclave, would brief the voting cardinals about their findings. Today Vatican officials clarified the investigating cardinals will be free to discuss their investigation with the other cardinals, as the voting members of the conclave seek to understand the challenges the next pope will face. But the dossier itself will remain "For the Pope’s Eyes Only."
Advertisement

To be clear, while the Vatican isn't denying that the dossier exists, it has steadfastly maintained that the reports about the specific details it allegedly contains are "unverified, unverifiable or completely false."

As far as PR moves go, denying the reports without mentioning the specific sensational details is a pretty smart move. As is limiting access to the dossier, something that, in theory at least, gives them leverage to push back that much harder against any unsourced reports claiming knowledge of the actual dossier. At the same time, telling the world that it remains "For the Pope's Eyes Only" sure as heck isn't going to throw cold water on the interest in a report that is said to be bound in red leather and stamped with a "pontifical secret" header. (Italian papers have already dubbed the trio of cardinals who compiled the dossier "the 007 cardinals.")

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.***

TODAY IN SLATE

Sports Nut

Grandmaster Clash

One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

Uh-Oh. The World’s Oceans Have Broken Their All-Time Heat Record.

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

Future Tense

How to Keep Apple From Sharing Your iPhone Data With the Police

Food

How to Order Chinese Food

First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”

A Simple Way to Keep Apple From Sharing Your iPhone Data With the Police

The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant

The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 11:40 AM The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
  Life
Outward
Sept. 18 2014 4:15 PM Reactions to a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Reveal Transmisogyny
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.