Headline news and colorful photos coming out of the Vatican this weekend concerned the admission of 22 new cardinals. However what generated far more attention in the lead up to the ceremony was the constant drip feed of damaging confidential information coming from unknown Vatican sources.
Recent leaks of internal information to the media have covered a multitude of issues including allegations of financial mismanagement, money laundering, political cronyism and sensitive security data. The unauthorised and unflattering news has hastened pressure for reform as succession plans take shape for the 84-year-old Pontiff. Vying factions seem intent on destabilizing the status quo and are preparing to take the reins when their moment comes.
The Vatican spokesman responded to the wave of leaks by commenting, “We must resist and not allow ourselves to be swallowed by the whirlpool of confusion, which is what those with bad intentions want.”
The PR Verdict: “B” for the Vatican leaker whoever you are. The strategy to weaken management by having it respond to numerous unforeseen crises seems to be working and has the current leadership defensive and distracted.
Leaking is always an effective way for internal stakeholders to get what they want without having to argue the case publicly. The oldest trick in the book is to confuse and distract current management so that it is vulnerable to being displaced or sidelined. When the top spokesman refers to “whirlpools of confusion” its clear that attempts to destabilize are working their magic. The Pontiff and his spokesman might want to take up The Prince by Machiavelli for some bedtime reading.
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