“You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.”
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican accused Italian media on Tuesday of waging an "insulting" smear campaign against it and Pope Benedict by running embarrassing stories about palace intrigue and Byzantine plotting inside its walls.
With a rare statement issued by its Secretariat of State, the Vatican broke its silence after two weeks of stories about events that led up to the resignation last September of Dino Boffo, influential editor of the Catholic newspaper Avvenire.
The reports said top Vatican officials had sent an Italian newspaper owned by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's family a false document alleging Boffo had been accused of harassment by a woman with whose husband he was having a homosexual affair.
Since January 23, Vatican officials have seen stories with headlines such as "The Poison of Cardinals," "Vatican Intrigue" and "Hunger for Power in the Vatican."
The articles, printed in mainstream newspapers, painted a picture of Vatican halls bristling with intrigue and plotting worthy of Medieval papacies. Read complete article - Philip Pullella - Reuters South Africa
The Pope has deplored as "unjust and offensive" accusations that Vatican officials close to him were behind smears which last year forced the resignation of Dino Boffo, a Catholic editor critical of Silvio Berlusconi's sexual conduct.
In an unusual statement the Secretariat of State, headed by Cardiinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope's deputy, said there was "a defamatory campaign under way against the Holy See which involves the Roman pontiff himself".
Last week Vittorio Feltri, the editor of Il Giornale, part of the Italian Prime Minister's media empire, admitted that his campaign to oust Mr Boffo as editor of Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian Catholic Bishops, had been based on "falsified documents".
At the height of revelations last summer over scandals in Mr Berlusconi's private life, Mr Feltri ran a sustained campaign against the Prime Minister's critics, including Mr Boffo. Read complete article – by Richard Owen in Rome – Times Online