The head of the Vatican communications department has resigned after sparking controversies and scandal after he was exposed to have manipulated and doctored a letter sent by retired Pope Benedict XVI.
A short Vatican official statement says Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of Msgr. Dario Vigano.
Amid the controversies generated by the matter, the Vatican was forced to admit blurring part of a letter about Pope Francis written by his predecessor. The picture of the said doctored letter was sent to the media. It was described by many as “fake news”, much to the embarrassment of the Vatican.
The scandal referred by some as “Lettergate” broke last week after Vigano read aloud part of a private letter from retired Pope Benedict XVI at a book launch for a Vatican-published, 11-volume set of books about Francis’ theology.
For the celebration of Francis’ fifth anniversary as pope, Vigano held up Benedict’s letter as a sign of the continuity between the two popes. It was seen as a move to silence critics who have issues with Francis’ mercy-over-morals papacy represents a theological break from Benedict’s doctrinaire term.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Vatican chief quits over doctored letter <a href="https://t.co/YTX0RkUbH7">https://t.co/YTX0RkUbH7</a> <a href="https://t.co/8Fx6YzMU1a">pic.twitter.com/8Fx6YzMU1a</a></p>— Chochilino (@ChochilinoRadio) <a href="https://twitter.com/ChochilinoRadio/status/976472721990221824?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 21, 2018</a></blockquote>
<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Vigano opted not to read the whole letter, and deliberately omitted the portion where Benedict expressed his objection to one of the authors in the volume because he had been a persistent critic of Benedict and St. John Paul II.
Associated Press reported that the photograph sent to the media digitally blurred out the lines where Benedict started to explain that he wouldn’t comment on the books.
Professional ethical standards of photojournalism prohibit adding or removing anything from photographs, especially manipulations that alter their meaning. It is also vital for the communications team of the Vatican to practice accuracy since media outlets covering the Pope most often than not rely on handout images from the Vatican.