Nice quote from Fr Thomas Reese, NCRep correspondent in Rome:
If the Vatican won’t give the media proper information, then all the creative writing and conspiracy theories start coming out. You have got to feed the lions – if not they will bite you!
The American briefings were virtually the only time reporters could hear directly from the cardinals themselves. Because of the U.S. cardinals’ straightforward style, their press conference was drawing growing interest from the more than 5,000 journalists who have flocked to Rome for the conclave.
That clearly ruffled the feathers of some other cardinals, notably the Italians who still feel they have certain territorial privileges when it comes to events in Rome. On Wednesday, an hour before the U.S. briefing, reporters received an email saying it was canceled and would not be held again.
Maybe American Catholics would be wondering … why all the openness in Rome and not so much back home? And alienating a sub-clique of cardinals, well, it’s not like these guys are serious papabile, right?
How the USCCB media spun it:
Concern was expressed in the general congregation about leaks of confidential proceedings reported in Italian newspapers. As a precaution, the cardinals have agreed not to do interviews.
The U.S. cardinals are committed to transparency and have been pleased to share a process-related overview of their work with members of the media and with the public, in order to inform while ensuring the confidentiality of the General Congregations.
John Thavis, CNS sums it:
It’s ironic and a bit sad that the Americans, who have been completely above board, are being shut down because someone else is leaking anonymously to the Italian press.
Yes, well, I’m sure the Italian cardinals are a little anxious their super secret leaks were getting upstaged by actual information given to the press.