The Vatican said Monday it "truly regrets" the publication of a letter from a psychotherapist detailing the mental health of the Vatican's recently ousted bank chief, as yet another Holy See document leak exposes the unseemly side of the Catholic Church's governance.
The letter was published in an Italian newspaper Saturday and appeared aimed at further discrediting and humiliating the Vatican bank's ex-president, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, once a top papal adviser. The bank's board ousted Gotti Tedeschi on May 24, accusing him of failing to do his job, leaking documents and impeding the Vatican's efforts to be more financially transparent.
The ouster was a stunning show of Holy See power struggles playing out in real time and came amid one of the greatest scandals facing Pope Benedict XVI's seven-year papacy: the continuous leaks of confidential documents that have laid bare allegations of church corruption and intrigue under Benedict's watch.
The pope's personal butler has been arrested in the case, accused of aggravated theft after reams of papal documents were found in his Vatican City apartment.
All told, the content of the leaked documents hasn't posed a threat to Benedict's papacy or revealed any great scandal, and on Monday Benedict once again urged his collaborators to remain faithful to him. But the continuous hemorrhaging of confidential memos has painted a picture of a church hierarchy that is little more than a petty, provincial Italian bureaucracy engaged in occasional Machiavellian power plays.
It is unclear who leaked the latest letter about Gotti Tedeschi. In the most damning letter, a specialist in the psychology of workplace stress, Dr. Pietro Lasalvia, wrote to the Vatican bank's director general, Paolo Cipriani, in March with his concerns about Gotti Tedeschi's personal behavior, which he said he had observed at the bank's Christmas party three months earlier.
In a statement Monday, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said the letter was wrongly released and published, and that its publication was "completely unacceptable and cause for true regret, in particular from the point of view of the respect that should be owed to the interested people."