The problem--which came to be known as "Lettergate 1.0"--was that the photograph of Benedict XVI's letter obscured crucial elements indicating that the Pope Emeritus wasn't really able to comment about the matter.
End of story.
As it turns out, Viganò's successor, Father Bernd Hagenkord, SJ, claimed on March 23, 2018 in a comment to his blog post concerning Lettergate 1.0 that the "partial publication" of the letter was "agreed upon" with the Pope Emeritus. Calling the publication of the picture a "mistake," Fr. Hagenkord claimed that no one had been really hurt in "this minor incident."
Fr. Hagenkord's post raises some questions:
- A mistake? Really? Who does Fr. Hagenkord expect to believe that? Monsignor Viganò oversaw the orchestration of a photograph to ensure its contents conform with what he wants those viewing it to believe. That's typically called "propaganda" and, by the way, of the negative kind because the intention is to deceive. That's what Fr. Hagenkord calls "a mistake"?
- No one had been really hurt? Really? What about the credibility of the Vatican news operation? Of any institution on the face of the globe, shouldn't people trust the Vatican will always communicate "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the whole truth"?
At the time of the publication of the misleading photograph, it was believed the rationale for what Fr. Hagenkord has called "a mistake" is that the Vatican spinmeisters were desperate to tamp down divisions between the progressives and conservatives within the Church. How so? By making Pope Francis' attempts to inject some "¡Hagan lío!"--"messing things up a bit"--into Church teaching appear to be continuous not discontinuous with that of his predecessors.
Hence, the only possible conclusion: In Fr. Hagenkort's estimation, a little dissembling of the truth was needed. Just a little "mistake" for which "no one would be really hurt."
So, caught redhanded and with the perpetrator of the "mistake" dispatched, Fr. Hagenkord would have people believe that it's now time to move on?
That would also be deceptive.
How so? Fr. Hagenkord has now been caught in his own "coverup of the coverup"--what's being called "Lettergate 2.0."
The Italian news website Il Sismografo has reported that Fr. Hagenkord deleted his earlier statement. The article's title is:
"Post of the day: The Viganò Affair and the letter of the Pope-emeritus.
Also Fr. Bernd Hagenkord manipulates his Facebook post."
Yes, it's true. Nowhere on the website is Hagenkord's statement to be found. That is, except in another commentor's statement who quotes the now-deleted comments.
However, that really doesn't matter because Il Sismografo has and printed a cached screenshot of the original:
Are people actually to believe all of this a "mistake"--a "minor incident"--which has "not really hurt anyone"?
How about the reputation of the Vatican news operation? Are people to take what's published as the truth while its leaders ply the trade of "Fake News" which Pope Francis himself has condemned as "satanic"?
Let the discussion begin...
To access the websites identified in this post, click on the following links: