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Vatican Plays Down Australian Cardinal George Pell's Comments

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VATICAN AUSTRALIAN CARDINAL
This May 28, 2008 file photo shows Cardinal George Pell addressing a press conference for World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia. On Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013 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 inte | AP

VATICAN CITY — 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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