College of Cardinals Imposes Media Silence
Italian prelates divulge too much information in press briefings, leading to the move.
VATICAN CITY — The College of Cardinals has decided that its members will no longer speak to journalists after several cardinals gave too much information to the Italian press.
“Concern was expressed in the general congregation about leaks of confidential proceedings reported in Italian newspapers,” said Sister Mary Ann Walsh, director of media relations for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
As a precaution, the cardinals have agreed not to do interviews,” she added in a March 6 statement sent to journalists who were hoping to attend a press conference with U.S. Cardinals Francis George and Theodore McCarrick.
The U.S. cardinals have been the only ones to organize press conferences during the general congregation phase of the sede vacante period. Before the decision was made to maintain media silence, three press briefings were held at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, attracting outlets from all over the world.
However, the real reason for the cancellation was that some Italian cardinals were divulging too much information to the Italian press. At this morning’s general meeting, the names of those who raised eyebrows were read off in front of the assembled cardinals.
Today was the third day of preliminary meetings as the cardinals prepare to vote for a new pope.
The full complement of 115 cardinal electors will be present in Rome by tomorrow. Polish Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz of Warsaw will be arriving later today, and Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, will land in Rome on March 7.