The Vatican Secretariat of State has issued a statement on the upcoming conclave and the external influence of various news stories. Read the full text here:
The freedom of the College of Cardinals, which is responsible for providing under the law for the election of the Roman Pontiff, has always been strongly defended by the Holy See, as a guarantee of a choice that was based on evaluations addressed solely for the good of the Church.
Through the course of the centuries, Cardinals have had to face many forms of pressures exerted upon individual electors or on the College of Cardinals. Such pressures had as their goal to condition the decisions, following a political or worldly logic.
If in the past, the so-called powers, i.e., States, exerted pressures on the election of the Pope, today there is an attempt to do this through public opinion that is often based on judgements that do not typically capture the spiritual aspect of the moment that the Church is living.
It is deplorable that as we draw closer to the time of the beginning of the Conclave and the Cardinal electors will be held in conscience and before God, to freely indicate their choice, that there be a widespread distribution of often unverified, unverifaiable or completely false news stories, that cause serious damage to persons and institutions.
In these moments more than ever, may Catholics focus on what is essential: praying for Pope Benedict, praying also that the Holy Spirit enlighten the College of Cardinals, pray for the future Pope, confident that the fate of the barque of Peter is in the hands of God.
Photo (CNS): Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State