Wikileaks issued the following statement immediately upon releasing the documents online: "Acting on a tip from an anonymous source, we were provided access to thousands of sensitive Vatican communiques, cables and memos. We would have released them sooner, but they were all written in Latin. Not only that, but since the data had been downloaded onto 8" floppy disks from the Vatican City State server, which is a refurbished ACS-8000 system, it took us awhile to transfer the data to a more up-to-date system."
The identity of the anonymous source has yet to be discovered; however, it is believed that the person responsible was a former seminarian who had been expelled from the Pontifical North American College for having posters of Richard McBrien and Hans Kung on the walls of his room.
Some of the alleged secrets uncovered in the data dump are:
- the Vatican State Dept. had given many of the world leaders nicknames based on US television programs, such as "Carlton Banks" for President Obama; "Coach" (from Cheers) for Vice-President Biden; "Ricky Ricardo" for Fidel Castro; "Reverend Jim" for Muammar Gaddafi; "Tattoo" for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; "Uncle Fester" for Kim Jong Il;
- Vatican agents had tailed and bugged author Dan Brown, citing reports that he "was getting uncomfortably close to the truth" with the Angel and Demons and The Da Vinci Code novels;
- Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, has been referred to as "that freakshow runaway badly in need of an eyebrow trim and a tube of hair gel";
- prominent Catholic politicians and celebrities were the subject of many memos - Nancy Pelosi was referred to as "a glittering jewel of theological idiocy"; Tony Blair was often called "the high-profile charlatan"; Sean Hannity, Christ Matthews and Bill O'Reilly were referred to as "the 3 Stooges of American media - their misunderstanding of their own Catholic faith is just incoherent slapstick and sight gags."
- The Vatican bank maintains unmarked accounts that Catholic politicians have been contributing to in order to avoid ex-communication.
- the Vatican has spies regularly attend the USCCB meetings, with orders to monitor who drinks what, who runs up high hotel charges from watching too many in-room movies, and who sleeps the most during the meetings.
- There are several pages devoted to the recent dust-up concerning the new English translation; one Vatican official is quoted as saying "Whoever came up with 'Fishperson' for Bishop Trautman deserves a plenary indulgence! Very funny!";
- Pope Benedict XVI was asked to guest host Saturday Night Live when he visited America in 2008, but he had to decline due to a scheduling conflict;
- The Apostolic Visitation of Women Religious was code-named "Salem II";
- The Vatican operates a covert blog operation, which underwrites such sites as Curt Jester, Creative Minority Report, The Hermeneutic of Continuity and LOLCats.
- Church officials never really had a problem with Galileo - they just wanted to "play some mind games with him and have a little fun";
- Pope Julius II's first choice to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was a guy named Pietro who drew caricatures for the tourists;
- The Vatican Bank helped fund the faked lunar landings in the 60's and 70's;
- For a few years in the early 1980's, whenever Pope John Paul II met privately with prominent dissidents and rogue theologians, he would conclude the meetings by declaring "Release the Kraken!", and then summon the CDF;
- They have a list of who's in Hell, they just aren't telling people about it so that no one gets upset should they discover their loved ones are on the list;
- In early 1981, the Vatican attempted to copyright the phrase "Spirit of Vatican II" in order to generate revenue from any individual or organization wanting to use the phrase, and to litigate against groups using the phrase without permission. The plan would have raised hundreds of millions of dollars, but it was dropped shortly after the assassination attempt on John Paul II on May 13, 1981. Evidence shows that Call-to-Action, and not the Soviet government, planned the attempt in retaliation for the Vatican's copyright plan.
It's unclear how much negative impact these revelations might have on ecumenical matters with the Anglican Church and the SSPX, or on diplomatic relations between the Vatican and other nation-states. Only time will tell. When asked about the leaks, US President spokesman Robert Gibbs remarked: "We do not foresee our relationship with the Holy See undergoing any significant change. We will continue to say we are in accord with much of what the Holy See stands for, and then turn around and act in a completely opposite manner."
On a positive note, it was discovered that the Third Secret of Fatima had indeed been released in full.