words by Pierangela Zandanel
The Vatican has recently threatened to take legal action against Italian broadcaster La7 for alleged slander. The investigative TV program 'Gli Intoccabili' (The Untouchables) presented by journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi on one of Italy’s leading commercial networks, focused on a letter written by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, former secretary of the Vatican Finance and Management Committee, accusing members of the committee of purposely mismanaging Vatican funds. The letter claims that: "The group includes some large bankers who do more to serve their own interests than ours.".
The TV programme suggested that after writing this letter, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò was appointed last October as Pope Benedict’s new nuncio to the United States as a way to remove him from the Finance and Management Committee, where he earned a reputation as a financial reformer. Nuzzi pointed out that the letter was dated March 27, 2011, roughly six months before Viganò was sent to the United States.
The Vatican has expressed “bitterness” over the disclosure of private documents, but did not dispute the letter’s authenticity. Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi stated: "We will pursue all available recourse, legal if necessary, to guarantee the honor of people of integrity and their well known professionalism". The authors of the program claim that they did nothing wrong by sharing the letter with their audience. "We did our duty as journalists, to cite documents, verify their authenticity and then make them public" said Gianluigi Nuzzi, inviting the Church to present their side of the story on air.