Aphorismus #936

Wort zum Sonntag #82

Auch der Vatikan hat Lecks*

Quelle: Wikileaks – Layout und Hervorhebungen zum leichteren Lesen von mir. Am Wortlaut wurde nichts verändert.

2/20/2009 16:00

Embassy Vatican



P 201600Z FEB 09



C o n f i d e n t i a l vatican 000028

E.o. 12958: decl: 2/20/2029

Tags: prel, ecps, phum, pgov, kpao, kirf, vt

Subject: the holy see: a failure to communicate

Ref: vatican 25 and previous (notal)

CLASSIFIED BY: Julieta Valls Noyes, CDA, EXEC, State.

REASON: 1.4 (b)

1. (C) Summary

Together with other flaps, the recent global controversy over the lifted excommunication of a Holocaust denying bishop (reftel) exposed a major disconnect between Pope Benedict XVI’s stated intentions and the way in which his message is received by the wider world. There are many causes for this communication gap: the challenge of governing a hierarchical yet decentralized organization, leadership weaknesses at the top, and an undervaluing of (and ignorance about) 21st century communications. These factors have led to muddled, reactive messaging that reduces the volume of the moral megaphone the Vatican uses to advance its objectives. This is especially true with audiences whose view of the Vatican is informed largely by mass media coverage. There are signs that at least some in the Vatican have learned their lessons and will work to reshape the Holy See’s communications structure. Whether they’ll prevail remains to be seen.
End Summary.

A centralized hierarchy making decentralized decisions

2. (SBU) The Vatican is highly hierarchical with the Pope ultimately responsible for all important matters. Yet it is also highly decentralized in its decision-making. This structure reflects belief in the principle of „subsidiarity„: leaving decisions to those closest to, and best informed on, a particular matter. On a practical level, however, subsidiarity can limit horizontal communication by eliminating peer consultation and review. This approach also encourages a narrow focus on issues at the expense of the big picture.
3. (C) In discussing the recent crisis with CDA and PAO, Archbishop Claudio Celli, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, described the Church’s current communication style as being focused on the content of a decision, rather than its public impact. xxxxxxxxxxxx, noted that this phenomenon is compounded by the fact that officials from the various Church organs see themselves as advocates for their issues, without considering their impact on the Church as a whole. The result is a process in which only a handful of experts are aware of imminent decisions — even major decisions with broad implications — and those who are become proponents, rather than impartial advisors to the Pope.
4. (C) A series of missteps during Benedict’s Papacy have made the lack of information-sharing in the Church painfully clear. In 2006, the Pope made a speech in Regensburg that was widely decried as insulting to Muslims, though he later explained he had no such intent. In 2008, the Pope himself baptized (i.e., converted)a prominent Muslim during the 2008 Easter Vigil service at St. Peters, an event broadcast worldwide; the Cardinal who runs Inter-Faith Dialogues for the Church knew nothing about the conversion until it happened. This year, Father Federico Lombardi, head of the Vatican press office, and Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, which includes relations with Jews, learned only after the fact about the decision to reinstate communion with schismatic Lefebrvist bishops who included a Holocaust denier (reftel). In the midst of that scandal, meanwhile, the Pope proposed promoting to auxiliary bishop a priest who said Hurricane Katrina was „divine retribution“ for licentiousness in New Orleans. The resulting outcry led the cleric to decline the offer.

* Natürlich stammt dieser Bericht aus der amerikanischen Botschaft, aber ohne die Lecks im Vatikan, d.h. ohne die verschiedenen Insider aus der allerheiligsten Hierarchie wäre er kaum so detailliert und interessant.


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