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Vatican’s prefect for communication resigns after the “polemics” surrounding Benedict XVI’s letter


Pope Francis “respects his decision” and accepts it, “not without effort.”

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Monsignor Dario Edoardo Viganò as prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communication, said Greg Burke, director of the Holy See’s Press Office, on March 21. The position will be occupied, in the meantime, by Monsignor Lucio Adriano Ruiz, secretary of the Dicastery.

In a letter addressed to the pope, Bishop Viganò explained his resignation is due to “the many polemics” some of his actions have sparked, which “destabilized” the great work of reform of the Holy See’s communications efforts.

Pope Francis, in his response, dated March 21st, explains that after “giving it much thought,” he “respects his decision” and accepts it, “not without effort.”

On March 17th, following controversy in the press, the Vatican Press Office published in its entirety a letter sent by Benedict XVI to the prefect of the Secretariat for Communication.

This followed a partial publication of the letter, which was regarding a collection of books on the theology of Pope Francis. The Pope Emeritus explained in the letter that he is no longer capable of studying the 11-volume set as he would have previously. It also notes his surprise at the inclusion of an author who during my pontificate had distinguished himself by leading anti-papal initiatives.

Viganò’s release of only part of this letter from the pope emeritus was criticized by the press. The photo that was shared with the media of the letter had a section blurred out.

In the letter, Benedict XVI mentioned “the inner continuity between the two pontificates, even with all the differences of style and temperament.” In the last paragraph, however, the pope emeritus mentioned he was surprised at the presence, among the contributors included in this collection, of a very critical theologian on his own pontificate and that of John Paul II.

Monsignor Viganò is now appointed as Assessor of the Secretariat for Communication. This position aims to assist the new prefect who will be appointed later.

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