VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI convened a special meeting of cardinals Saturday for advice on how to deal with the Vatican’s leaked documents scandal, another sign of the damage the leaks have done to trust in church governance.
Benedict was already scheduled to attend a regular meeting of the heads of Vatican offices Saturday morning. The Vatican press office said he added a second meeting later in the day with other cardinals in a bid to try to ‘‘restore a climate of serenity and trust’’ in the church.
The Vatican said that in coming days he will meet with still more cardinals gathering in Rome for a church feast day Friday to ‘‘continue the dialogue with the people who share the responsibility of the church’s governance with him.’’
In a separate development, the Vatican confirmed Saturday that it has enlisted the Fox News correspondent in Rome to help improve its communications strategy as it tries to cope with the scandal.
Greg Burke will become a senior communications adviser in the Vatican’s secretariat of state, said the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman.
The Vatican has been scrambling to contain the damage after the leak of hundreds of Vatican documents exposed corruption, political infighting, and power struggles at the highest level of the Catholic Church. The pope’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, is under arrest at the Vatican, accused of aggravated theft after the pope’s own documents were found in Gabriele’s Vatican City apartment.
One Holy See investigation into the links is a criminal one headed by Vatican gendarmes. There is also an internal inquiry led by a commission of three cardinals tasked with getting to the bottom of the scandal.
Last weekend Benedict met with the cardinal’s commission to get details about its inquiry.
The meetings Saturday were another indication of the seriousness with which he has taken the scandal and the damage it has done to the trust that is supposed to form the basis of the Vatican’s governance.
In its statement, the Vatican said the regularly scheduled meeting with department heads was “particularly important and urgent to show efficient witness to the union of spirit that animates the Curia.’’
The second meeting Saturday includes Vatican cardinals, and the archbishops of Sydney and the retired vicar of Rome — two longtime papal advisers.
Benedict also moved to enlarge a panel of cardinals asked to scrutinize the ‘‘organizational and economic problems of the Holy See,’’ the Vatican said. He appointed to the panel three cardinals: Polycarp Pengo, an archbishop from Tanzania, in Africa; and two Asians, Telesphore Toppo, from India, and John Tong Hong, the Hong Kong prelate elevated to the rank of cardinal earlier this year by the pontiff. All three are involved with the Holy See office that bankrolls missionary work abroad.
Italian authorities have been looking into an alleged web of kickbacks and favors, including purported sexual ones, involving businessmen, church hierarchy, and public officials.
Toppo also serves on a cardinals’ watchdog committee for the Vatican bank.