Catholic Church blasted over attack on press freedom

Catholic Church blasted over attack on press freedom

Italian journalists, Emiliano Fittipaldi, left, and Gianluigi Nuzzi are among five people who are set to go on trial in the Vatican on charges of leaking and publishing secret documents that exposed financial mismanagement in the Holy See.

If convicted, they could be jailed for up to eight years.

The accused journalists, the BBC reports, branded the trial “Kafka-esque”, saying neither they or their lawyers had seen details of the charges. Both wrote reports of the misuse of charitable and other funds in their books Merchants in the Temple: Inside Pope Francis’s Secret Battle Against Corruption in the Vatican and Avarizia. Allegations they published included the lavish refurbishment of apartments for cardinals and others.

Fittipaldi said:

This is a trial against freedom of the press. In no other part of the world, at least in the part of the world that considers itself democratic, is there a crime of a scoop, a crime of publishing news.

The three accused of leaking the documents are Msgr Angelo Lucio Vallejo Balda and his assistant Nicola Maio, along with PR expert Francesca Chaouqui. The special reform commission on which they were serving was set up by Pope Francis to tackle the Vatican’s financial holdings and propose reforms to improve cash flow to the poor.

Media groups have urged the Vatican to drop the charges. Nina Ognianova, of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said:

Journalists should be allowed to carry out their role as watchdog and investigate alleged wrongdoing without fear of repercussions.

BBC religious affairs correspondent Caroline Wyatt said the speed with which the Vatican has moved to charge the five stands in sharp contrast to the length of time it has taken to help bring many priests accused of child sex abuse to trial.

She adds that if long sentences are passed on the journalists, the Vatican would have no facilities for holding the inmates and would have to ask Italy – where freedom of the press is protected – to imprison them up on a charge that is not a crime there.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

25 responses to “Catholic Church blasted over attack on press freedom”

  1. Broga says:

    So much for Frankie and his intention to moderate the worst excesses of his criminal Empire. It’s the same old RC Church. The BBC reporter makes a telling point when comparing the speed of this prosecution with the sluggish moves to hold paedophile priests to account.

  2. Gindy51 says:

    Kids, who cares but god dammit they want to protect their fucking cash

  3. L.Long says:

    There is no such thing as freedom of the press ANYWHERE!!! It is a political illusion. Printing the TRUTH can get you very dead or in a lot of trouble. Ask Snowden how he likes the Russian winters? He reported the truth. And what gives these guys the idea that Italy is NOT a theocracy as bad as Iran or such places??? If the dress wearing funny hat wearing bigots in the vatican can put you on trial and throw you in jail, you have a theocracy!!!!

  4. John Humpf says:

    Need any more proof that the rcc is a wholly corrupt criminal organisation posing in plain view as god’s channel between heaven and earth?
    Some Questions:-
    What has the vatican got to hide?
    Why doesn’t the vatican trust and rely on god to punish the reporters?
    Does the vatican have the power to try and incarcerate people?
    If yes, why aren’t the rcc child rapists incarcerated?
    Why do millions still believe in and support the rcc?
    Why doesn’t the Italian Legal System put every child raping, thieving, lying, money laundering, genocidal, tax evading official in the vatican on trial.
    Why don’t Prosecution Services around the world tackle the criminal representatives of the rcc?

  5. Lon says:

    Frankie goes all JISIS on journalists and freedom of speech!

  6. John Humpf says:

    Not as bad as islamists though who simply assassinate those who challenge or upset them. I am not fully convinced that the rcc would complain much if by some miracle medieval culture was reinstated … what fun they could have with the garotte, oubliette, vats of boiling oil and man griddles.

  7. Vanity Unfair says:

    The Vatican City has the status of an independent country, the World’s smallest, so its jurisdiction ends at its boundary (leaving aside extradition). If the journalists remain outside they are relatively safe. If they enter, I suggest a defence based on John 8:32; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
    The Vatican City’s status answers John Humpf’s and L. Long’s understandable protests. I don’t say it’s right; it just is.

  8. Brian Jordan says:

    Independent country? More like a private multinational company. It’s just the replacement for the Papal States, given to the pope by Mussolini to keep the RC Church on his side, and has been pandered too ever since by the United Nations and national leaders. Knaves and fools that they variously are.
    “Between 1870 and 1929, the pope had no physical territory at all. Eventually Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini solved the crisis between modern Italy and the Vatican, and, in 1929, the Vatican City State was granted sovereignty.”

  9. Laura Roberts says:

    “In no other part of the world, at least in the part of the world that considers itself democratic, is there a crime of a scoop, a crime of publishing news.”

    Really? Has he not visited the U.S. in the last 14 years?

  10. jay says:

    Snowden, Manning, Poitras,Assange.

  11. barriejohn says:

    And what about Britain,where press freedom is seriously threatened now? If newspapers are made liable for the costs of those who object to articles even when their objections are thrown out, what editor is going to go near anything in the least bit controversial any more?

  12. AgentCormac says:

    Seriously, how does anybody have any faith (pardon the pun) in the rcc any more? It has been discredited on so, so many levels it beggars belief, and its actions are in such obvious contradiction to its teachings, that you’d have to have been brainwashed since birth to not acknowledge the reality of what’s going on here. Oh, hang on mo….

  13. Broga says:

    OT: Should be good attendance at church on Sunday as, with the Turkey/Russia confrontation, we need some serious praying.

  14. tonye says:

    You know, I never I’d see the day when the ‘church of the poor’ was to be tainted by accusations of financial mismanagement. (ONLY JOKING)

    If they could kill JP1 for looking into papal funds, I’d advise F1 to keep a very low profile.

  15. barriejohn says:

    Broga: Did you notice that there was yet ANOTHER church service in Sussex in memory of those who died in the Shoreham Air Show disaster? This received full TV coverage in this region, as did the fact that when some council official decided that it was time to clear away all the tatty tributes that have accumulated on the so-called “Bridge of Flowers” he was very nearly lynched. No one actually died on the bridge, but people have decided that all the cards and flowers are sacrosanct, so they are going to be preserved. It’s like Princess Diana all over again, and makes you despair of human nature. No wonder that religion and superstition have such a firm hold on people. Is there any hope for the future?

  16. Broga says:

    @barriejohn: I thought that was now in the past. However, these tributes and the laying of flowers is for people to pander to their own mawkish emotions. And, of course, the clergy step in as the stars of the show.

  17. Stephen Mynett says:

    The theists don’t get it and, in many cases don’t care. I have been to a few Humanist funerals and at each there was a favourite piece of music and at each the celebrant said something along the lines of “using that time to remember the deceased in thoughts or prayers or however you think best.” I think that covers all angles quite nicely. Not so for the theists, at two I had someone moan to be about there being no mention of their god in the service and they could not/would not see that having a religious service for an atheist would be disrespectful, all they wanted was to push their own brand of theism.

  18. Gerald says:

    The pious actually welcome disasters, and the more deaths the better. Disasters provide raw materials in the form of mutilated dead bodies, grieving friends and relatives, a sudden shocking newsworthy event and a media circus desperate to sensationalise the gruesome toll. What better opportunity for a pompous tawdry hand wringing church service, a service at which the misfortune of others is callously exploited to extol the glory of a god. And do the pious seek the approval of those involved, a large proportion of who are non believers or of a different faith? Such arrogance and presumption is sickening.

  19. barriejohn says:

    Gerald: I couldn’t agree more. It’s also sickening how politicians exploit disasters for their own ends. Local councillors have been incessantly on the news regarding Shoreham, telling us how they are “110%” behind the “grieving” local populace and their obvious “need” for these ghastly tributes. No sort of rational analysis is allowed, and if you suggest it then you’re immediately branded heartless and devoid of human emotion. We’ve had appalling tragedies in our family, but after grieving you have to get on with your life, and not dwell on the past.

  20. Newspaniard says:

    Surely, all these guys need to do is walk away. Join the tourists and leave when they do. This little tin-pot dictatorship deserves little respect for their corrupt administration and I’m sure the Italian authorities are not going to extradite them. But then, what do I know?

  21. Stephen Mynett says:

    The clergy and politicians love disasters and death for a good reason, there is nothing they can do about other than prattle on with words of support, offers of prayers and other fatuous comments to try to make it look as though they are doing something.
    The church could easily make a big step to slowing two ongoing disasters, HIV and starvation but it is a lot easier to pray for the dead than to change idiot dogma and allow condoms.

  22. Maggie says:

    Drawing back the curtain one cannot expect to find a friendly wizard behind it.

  23. The Holy See is a fraudulent state. It should not be recognised as a state for it has none of the characteristics of a real country. These men are being persecuted by the papacy. Amnesty International needs to act. The Holy See has gotten away with clerical sex abuse because it masquerades as a state. Don’t see this “terrific” pope worrying about that!

  24. Cali Ron says:

    Isn’t the Holy See a dictatorship and a violater of human rights. Where’s the moral outrage? Where’s the boycotts? Again, religion get’s a free pass. Hypocrisy 101.