Americans nix conclave briefing; concern of leaks

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VATICAN CITY (AP) -- The American cardinals in Rome for the conclave to elect the next pope have canceled their popular daily press briefings -- purportedly because of concern that details of the secret proceedings under way ahead of the election might leak to the media.

The Vatican denied it exerted any pressure on the Americans to keep quiet. But the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the Holy See considers these pre-conclave meetings to be secret and part of a solemn discernment process to choose a pope.

The U.S. cardinals' spokeswoman, Sister Mary Ann Walsh, said Wednesday's briefing was canceled after concern expressed by other cardinals "about leaks of confidential proceedings reported in Italian newspapers." As a precaution, interviews were halted.

Italian newspapers haven't reported any significant information from the confidential talks.

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