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Vatican communications chief ‘resigns’ over Lettergate scandal

A brief Vatican statement said Pope Francis had “accepted” Vigano’s resignation but a Vatican source said the prelate had been told to offer it, meaning he was fired.

world Updated: Mar 21, 2018 17:42 IST
Reuters, The Vatican
Pope fires communications chief,The Vatican,Lettergate scandal
Pope Francis speaks with Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin before the Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican, on March 21, 2018. (Reuters)

Monsignor Dario Vigano, the Italian head of the Vatican communications department who was caught up in the so-called ‘Lettergate’ scandal, has resigned, the Vatican said on Wednesday.

A brief Vatican statement said Pope Francis had “accepted” Vigano’s resignation but a Vatican source said the prelate had been told to offer it, meaning he was fired.

Vigano, 55, whose formal title was Prefect of the Secretariat for Communication, had come under sharp criticism for blurring part of a photograph of a letter by former Pope Benedict and citing it selectively for a week before releasing the entire text on Saturday.

A letter by retired Pope Benedict is seen in this photo released on March 13, 2018 that the Vatican admitted was doctored, by blurring its final two lines, where retired Pope Benedict begins to acknowledge that he didn't read an 11-volume set of books about Pope Francis' theology and doesn't have time to comment them. (AP)

The episode cast a shadow over the Vatican and was a public relations fiasco, particularly because earlier this year, the pope wrote a document on the dangers of “fake news”.

The letter was meant to remain confidential but Vigano read selected passages of it at the presentation on March 12 of a Vatican-published 11-booklet series on the theology of Pope Francis.

First Published: Mar 21, 2018 17:35 IST