Rome

Panorama Vatileaks piece based on 'fantasies', says Lombardi

Vatican spokesman says not to expect comments

Panorama Vatileaks piece based on 'fantasies', says Lombardi

Rome, February 20 - The head of the Vatican's press service on Thursday said claims by an article in a weekly newsmagazine that Pope Benedict XVI decided to step down in December after reading a report into the Vatileaks scandal were "fantasies". A committee of three cardinals which carried out the investigation "did its work, did its report" and delivered it to the pope, Lombardi said. "Let's not run after all these conjectures, fantasies and opinions. Do not expect comments, confirmations or denials of particular points". Last week Italian current affairs magazine Panorama published a dossier on the Vatileaks scandal, claiming the pope decided he would resign last December after having received and read the second installment of the investigation by three cardinals into the case of sensitive Vatican documents which were leaked to the press. However in a jibe to the reporters' competence, Lombardi Thursday noted how the story refers to events in the pope's final day schedule that Lombardi said are not planned. "If one reads these few lines one understands there is no competence on Vatican issues on the part of whoever wrote these things". Lombardi also said the three cardinals charged by Pope Benedict XVI to shed light on the Vatileaks scandal will not comment on their work. Commenting Lombardi's remarks, the head of television broadcaster Tv2000, Dino Boffo, said the pope's decision to retire was based on a desire to "put an end to a management of power which can scandalize the last and the humble". Referring to the secrecy with which the Vatileaks scandal has been shrouded, Boffo also said: "I think the Holy See has to free itself of the villainous habit of anonymous letters with no signatures and no return address".

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