Vatican Reacts to Leak of Climate Change Encyclical

vatican in morningAn Italian magazine broke with common journalistic standards by leaking Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change on June 15, even though it is embargoed until June 18.

TIME is reporting that the 192-page document was published online yesterday by L’Espresso in direct violation of the embargo.

Calling the leak “a heinous act”, the Vatican released the following statement:

“An Italian text of a draft of the Pope’s Encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ has been published. Please note that it is not the final text, and that the rules of the Embargo remain in place. We ask journalists to respect professional standards, which call for waiting for the official publication of the final text.”

The document, which consists of six chapters and two prayers, will be officially presented in a press conference on Thursday by Cardinal Peter Turkson, head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Metropolitan John Zizioulas of the Orthodox Church, and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, a professor at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

A news or press embargo occurs when a source requests a delay in the publication of the information or news they wish to provide. While mostly a “gentleman’s agreement”, news organizations usually respect these requests although some news outlets will break an embargo and publish a story either accidentally or to break the story before its competitors. Breaking an embargo is considered a serious breach of trust that can result in the offending news organization being barred from receiving any advance information from the source in the future.

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