Peru Leader Says Smear Campaign Is Over

Asks Cardinal and Nuncio to Consider the Case Closed

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LIMA, Peru, DEC. 3, 2001 (Zenit.org).- President Alejandro Toledo met Saturday with Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani and Peru´s papal nuncio to ensure them that the calumnies leveled against the prelates by government aides would not affect church-state relations.

On Nov. 25, Cardinal Cipriani, the archbishop of Lima, said that a government official traveled to Rome to try to “discredit” him before the Holy See by presenting false documents.

President Toledo later admitted that Justice Minister Fernando Olivera had gone to the Vatican for consultations regarding letters containing serious, but false, accusations against the cardinal.

The Peruvian government has refused to say who gave them the false documents and said it always treated the matter with reservations.

The person who circulated the false information had accused the cardinal and the papal nuncio, Archbishop Rino Passigato, of maintaining ties with Vladimiro Montesinos, a former presidential adviser of Alberto Fujimori. Montesinos, a former spy chief, has been jailed since June.

The documents that accused the cardinal carried no official seal and had errors in the writing. They were reminiscent of a system employed by the former Fujimori regime to discredit people.

During his Sunday homily, Cardinal Cipriani forgave those who slandered him and called for calm. He hoped that the whole matter would contribute to “reparation, the desire for unity among all Peruvians, and unity around a common faith.”

A few days earlier, the Permanent Council of the Peruvian bishops´ conference expressed its solidarity with Cardinal Cipriani, “whose honor and good name have been seriously harmed in a denigrating manner.”

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ZENIT Staff

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