Media has tarnished Vatican`s image: Pope

A Vatican scandal involving leaked secret documents and the arrest of Paolo Gabriele has been exaggerated, Pope Benedict said.

Vatican City: A Vatican scandal involving leaked secret documents and the arrest of the pope`s butler has been exaggerated and misrepresented by the press, Pope Benedict said.

"Totally frivolous conjecture has been amplified by means of communication that have gone far beyond the facts creating an image of the Holy See that doesn`t correspond to reality," the pope said at his weekly audience in St Peter`s Square on Wednesday.

Last week, the pope`s butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested and is being interrogated at the Vatican after secret papers were found at his home.

Gabriele`s arrest came two months after Benedict appointed a special commission to investigate the leaks, which included personal letters to the pontiff.

The documents have been passed to the Italian media and published in two books, the latest released last week is called "Sua Santita" (His Holiness).

Rome`s Il Messaggero daily ran a story on Monday saying that an unnamed cardinal was suspected of being a leading mole orchestrating the so-called "Vatileaks" that exposed corruption and venomous power struggle amongst rival figures within the Vatican.

The Vatican has denied there were any cardinals involved in the scandal.

Some of the papers discuss corruption, including allegedly inflated prices for Italian companies contracted to do work at the Vatican.

Others shed light on a power clash inside the Vatican, pitting papal loyalists against those in support of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican`s 76-year-old second-in-command and administrator.


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