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Prefect of Secretariat for Communication resigns after controversy over letter from Benedict

The Vatican communication director has resigned after he used part of a letter from Benedict XVI to promote a collection of books, and censored the rest, which was critical of the work.

Dario Viganò presented his resignation on Monday and on Wednesday morning the pope officially accepted it.

The controversy began with this photograph sent by the Vatican press office, showing favorable words by Benedict XVI, but hiding other remarks.

The prefect of the Secretariat for Communication read part of the text at a press conference, and did not publish it completely in the press release, which hid three things:

First, that Benedict refused to prepare a theological reflection because he would not read the work. This, however, was mentioned at the press conference.

The second, that the letter was a private text by Benedict XVI and was not meant to be published. 

The third, was that the pope emeritus expressed his "surprise for the fact that, figuring among the authors is also Professor Hünermann, who during my pontificate came to light for having headed anti-papal initiatives." It was a polite way to suggest this volume be removed from the collection published by the Vatican, but it was not done.

At the beginning, some media outlets complained about the Vatican's lack of transparency in publishing an incomplete text.

Others were annoyed that a private letter from Benedict was used to praise a work about Pope Francis.

It is surprising how quickly the pope accepted the resignation. Francis says in his letter that it is "not without some effort," that he welcomes the resignation and highlights Dario Viganò's ability to "confront and submit" with the Curia's agencies. He also asks him to collaborate as an adviser to the Secretariat for Communication.

Dario Viganó was appointed prefect of the Communication Secretariat in June 2015. He has managed to unify under a single department all the communications operations of the Vatican, from the Radio to the Osservatore Romano newspaper. It is a task others had tried before and could not achieve, and on that he leaves almost finished.