Vatican plays down Australian cardinal comments

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Associated Press

Posted on February 28, 2013 at 8:00 AM

Updated Thursday, Feb 28 at 8:01 AM

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican is playing down an Australian cardinal's comments that Pope Benedict XVI's decision to resign was "slightly destabilizing," saying cardinals are not media savvy.

Cardinal George Pell told Australian Broadcasting Corp. that the pope "was well aware that this was a break with tradition, slightly destabilizing." The comments were interpreted by the Italian media as unusual criticism of the pope.

But in the interview, Pell also seems at pains to defend the pope, saying: "He felt that because of his weakness and sickness ... that he just didn't have the strength to lead the church."

Spokesman the Rev. Thomas Rosica said it was unwise for the Vatican to comment on what cardinals say, and that journalists shouldn't take advantage of cardinals who, he said, aren't media savvy.

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