Vatican defends transfer of official 

The Vatican on Thursday defended its transfer of a top official to Washington after he exposed alleged corruption in the awarding of Holy See contracts.

The Vatican also warned that it could take legal action against a TV show that reported on the case. The Italian investigative news program, "The Untouchables," showed letters from Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano to Pope Benedict XVI begging not to be transferred after exposing corruption costing the Vatican millions of euros (dollars).

Vigano was removed in October as the No. 2 administrator of the Vatican city-state and was named the pope's ambassador to Washington. While the job is highly prestigious, the posting took Vigano far from headquarters and out of the running for the Vatican's top administrative job, which carries with it the rank of cardinal.

The Vatican statement said Vigano was given one of the most important roles in Vatican diplomacy, citing this as proof of Benedict's "unquestionable respect and trust" in him.

The statement did not respond to specific allegations aired Wednesday night on the news show on the private La7 network. It criticized "questionable journalistic methods" such as revealing confidential documents and complained that information was presented "in a superficial and biased manner."

The Holy See also said it would pursue "all opportune ways, if necessary, legal measures" to protect the reputation of Vatican officials mentioned in the program.

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