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Wikifail: Vatican uses Wikipedia for profiles of new cardinals

A spokesman later clarified that the biographies that had been sent to journalists were unofficial and had been issued in haste.

Image: Simon Galloway/EMPICS Sport

THE VATICAN HAS been caught out after it emerged that it cut and pasted text from Wikipedia to use in biographies of its newly appointed cardinals.

The Guardian reports that the biographies were sent to journalists who raised eyebrows when they saw that many of the profiles described the archbishops set for a promotions as Catholics, which one would have thought would be a given.

It has since emerged that the biographies were cut and pasted from the Italian version of Wikipedia without attribution with it noted by many that the style does not exactly match the Vatican’s.

It describes Utrecht archbishop Willem Jocabus as being described in his bio as having a “strong tendency to conservatism specially regarding abortion and homosexuality, which has made him one of the most talked about religious men in the country”

The English version of the Wikipedia entry contains a similar line, reading: “Some consider his views relatively extreme compared to the majority of the Dutch people,especially his views on abortion and homosexuality.”

A Vatican spokesman has since stated that the biographies were marked as ‘unofficial’ and that their issuing had been driven by haste. Official biographies are now going up on the Vatican website, The Guardian reports.

Pope Benedict appointed 22 new cardinals to the College of Cardinals last week. They will be formally recognised at a ceremony next month. The 125 cardinals in total will be responsible for choosing the Pope’s successor.

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Hugh O'Connell

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