Vatican lashes out at media 'gossip and misinformation'

The Vatican has criticised the media for what it says are a series of defamatory and false media reports before the conclave to elect Pope Benedict XVI's successor.

It follows reports in Italian media about the contents of a secret dossier prepared by three cardinals into the origins of the leaks of Vatican documents.

The Pope will step down on the 28th February Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive

In an statement on the Vatican's radio website, spokesman Federico Lombardi said tools such as "gossip and misinformation and slander" were being used by "those who seek to profit from the moment of surprise and disorientation of the spiritually naive to sow confusion and to discredit the Church".