Pope Benedict to sue German magazine over satirical Vatileaks cover

A German magazine said Tuesday that Pope Benedict XVI was preparing to sue it for publishing a cover satirizing the “Vatileaks” leaked-documents scandal that has rocked the Vatican.

Titanic magazine’s July edition featured a picture of the German-born pontiff with a yellow stain on his white cassock and the headline: “The leak has been found.”

Titanic then published on its home page a copy of a letter sent by Archbishop Angelo Becciu to a German lawyer in Benedict’s name asking him to take “the necessary legal steps against this publication.”

“The Holy Father tasks you to institute proceedings against this violation of his personal rights,” the letter added.

The magazine’s editor Leo Fischer said in a statement: “Benedict must have misunderstood us.”

He said the cover showed a pope who had accidentally spilled a soft drink over his cassock in his exuberance.

A spokeswoman for a regional court in the northern city of Hamburg said authorities had already banned the magazine from further publication of the image although it does not have to recall editions already issued.

The “Vatileaks” scandal has seen whistleblowers copying and leaking private documents straight from Benedict’s desk, causing deep embarrassment to the Vatican.

The leaked documents shed light on many Vatican secrets, including the Church’s tax problems, pedophile priest scandals and negotiations with hardline traditionalist rebels.