Update: WikiLeaks and the Vatican

by Dennis Coday

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Just saw this note from Religion News Service:

(Contrary to many news reports, including that linked to below, these documents were NOT part of the Wikileaks trove, but were obtained by La Stampa using the less glamorous method of a FOIA request. However, the Italian newspaper, capitalizing on its lucky timing, ran a headline that suggested otherwise.)

The U.K. newspaper Catholic Herald is reporting that the Italian newspaper La Stampa has found among the U.S. State Department memos on WkikiLeaks, a telegram from Rome to Washington dated April 19, 2005, that said Rome-based diplomats were "shocked" and "speechless" about the election of Cardinal Ratzinger as pope.

Diplomats had drawn up an earlier document for the then Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice only days after John Paul II died, in which they had outlined the likely characteristics of the Pope’s successor.

The future Pope, they wrote, would need to have pastoral experience in order to show his human side and be a good communicator with new media skills.

Belgian Cardinal Gottfried Daneels was among those considered to be the best candidates by American diplomats. They said Daneels “knows how to use a computer” and represents the best compromise between Catholic doctrine and liberalism.

Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi of Milan was also considered a likely choice because of his connection with young people

Colombian Cardinal Dario Castrillon-Hoyos had “organized video conferences with thousands of priests” was considered "the perfect candidate for those who want a Hispanic who knows the Curia."

Read the full account: Pope’s election took US diplomats by surprise

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