Vatican condemns media reports on scandal ahead of pope's resignation
VATICAN CITY (AFP) - The Vatican on Saturday condemned Italian media reports of intrigue, corruption and blackmail among senior prelates, saying these could be a form of pressure to sway voting in next month's conclave to elect Pope Benedict XVI's successor.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi dismissed as "gossip, disinformation and sometimes calumny" the reports, which are linked to an investigation by a committee of cardinals last year over a series of damaging leaks of confidential papal documents.
In a statement on Vatican radio's website, Lombardi also referred to the upcoming conclave saying there was "unacceptable pressure to condition the vote of one or other member of the college of cardinals, who might be disliked for one reason or another".
"There are people who are trying to take advantage of this moment of surprise and disorientation of weak spirits to sow confusion and discredit the Church and its government," Lombardi said.