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Pope backs under-fire Secretary of State Bertone

Pontiff's right-hand man seen as target of 'Vatileaks' campaign

04 July, 13:42
Pope backs under-fire Secretary of State Bertone

(ANSA) - Vatican City, July 4 - Pope Benedict XVI has sent a letter of support to Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, who is widely seen as the target of the so-called 'Vatileaks' campaign involving the leaking of confidential Church documents.

"Having noted with sorrow the unjust criticisms levelled against your person, I intend to renew the testimony of my personal confidence," read a letter dated July 2 that was published on the Holy See's website on Wednesday.

The pope's butler Paolo Gabriele was arrested in May for being in possession of illegally obtained reserved Church documents.

The Vatican has denied speculation that senior clergymen, including a cardinal, were involved in the leaks as part of a power struggle within it and blasted media coverage of the affair.

Bertone, the pope's right-hand man, recently accused journalists of playing at being Dan Brown, saying they were guilty of "inventing tales and peddling legends".

The leaked documents included letters to the pope and Bertone from the Holy See's ambassador in Washington, Carlo Maria Vigano', who was the deputy governor of Vatican City when they were written.

The letters contained allegations of corruption in the management of Vatican City.