Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday blasted the media coverage of the so-called 'Vatileaks' affair after his butler was arrested last week for being in possession of illegally obtained confidential Church documents.
"Inferences have multiplied from some media organs that are totally gratuitous and have gone well beyond the facts, giving an image of the Holy See that does not correspond to reality," the pontiff said.
Benedict also said that he renewed his "trust in, and encouragement for, my closest assistants and all those who help my carry out my ministry in silence with faith and spirit of sacrifice".
The butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested after the Vatican launched a probe into the leaking of sensitive Church papers to the Italian media earlier this year. The documents included a letter with allegations of corruption in the management of Vatican City sent to the pope from the Holy See's ambassador in Washington, Carlo Maria Vigano', when he was the deputy governor of Vatican City.
The Holy See has staunchly denied media speculation that high-ranking figures in the clergy, including cardinals, were also involved in the leaks.
The pope said at his general audience that the events of the last few days had "caused pain to my heart", while adding that "the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit" and that "the Lord will never fail to give his help to support it in its path".
The Church has also been hit by controversy after Ettore Gotti Tedeschi last week stepped down as president of the Vatican Bank, officially called the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), following a no-confidence vote by the board of directors. Gotti Tedeschi said he was not revealing the truth about the case "out of love for the pope" after the Vatican said he had not been carrying out his duties properly. Vatican experts said Gotti Tedeschi's split with the bank was likely linked to internal tensions regarding the Vatican's efforts to secure inclusion on the international 'white list' of countries which are considered to have acceptable financial transparency laws, unlike tax havens.