Vatican admits using Wikipedia for new cardinals’ bios

11 Jan 2012

A journalist and blogger who spotted similarities between the biographies of 22 new cardinals from the Vatican and Wikipedia entries has led the Vatican to acknowledge it did turn to the online encyclopedia to produce the biographies.

Sandro Magister picked up on the similarities in the biographies the Vatican distributed to journalists, BBC News Online reported, adding that in some instances they were copied word-for-word and without attributing Wikipedia.

The Vatican responded it was trying to help journalists and warned them the biographies were “unofficial”.

A Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, BBC News Online reported, said his staff had no advance notice of the new cardinals’ names and had been in a hurry.

Pope Benedict announced the names of the new cardinals on 6 January.

Official biographies are being posted on the website of the Holy See.