In his Sunday midday Angelus message, Pope Francis came down hard on those involved in leaking confidential Vatican documents to the press, saying that many people had been upset by the news.
“First of all, I want to tell you that stealing those documents is a crime,” the Pope said to the crowd of ten thousand gathered in Saint Peter’s Square. “It is a deplorable act that does no good.”
Pope Francis was referring to last week’s publication of two books based in part on leaked documents from a now-dissolved commission created by the Pope in 2013 to address the Vatican’s financial situation.
The books are Avarizia (“Avarice”) by Italian journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi and Via Crucis (released in English as Merchants in the Temple) by Gianluigi Nuzzi, another Italian journalist who already made a name for himself over the Vatileaks fiasco under Pope Benedict XVI.
“I myself had requested that study,” Francis continued, “and those documents were well known to me and my colleagues. Measures had been taken and were already beginning to bear fruit, even if much of it was invisible,” he said.
The financial information exposed in the new tell-all books is actually all a couple years old at this point.
On Sunday, the Pope said that this “sad fact” would in no way slow down his work on financial reform that he began two years ago.
“So I thank you, and ask you to pray for the Pope and for the Church,” Francis said, “without allowing yourselves to be troubled but moving forward with trust and hope.”
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome.