Book: Cardinal tried to block Catholic honor for Quinn

An Italian best-seller that has touched off a scandal in the Vatican reportedly contains a plea from Cardinal George, urging the Vatican to halt an award to Governor Pat Quinn for abolishing the death penalty.

The book is Your Holiness: The Secret Papers of Benedict XVI by Italian writer Gianluigi Nuzz.

John Allen, a Vatican analyst and columnist for the National Catholic Reporter newspaper, says the book reveals what Nuzzi claims is an encrypted 2011 cable from the Apostolic Nuncio in Washington, relaying an overture from Cardinal George to the Holy See's Secretariat of State.

In the cable Cardinal George asks that the Vatican office step in and block the Rome-based Community of Sant'Egidio from giving an award to Quinn, Allen said. Sant'Egidio, a Catholic movement that promotes peace and fights poverty, apparently planned to honor Quinn and a delegation from Illinois for abolishing the state's death penalty.

Although Cardinal George and Governor Quinn agree on capital punishment, the Cardinal has criticized Quinn for supporting abortion rights and same-sex civil unions.

Colleen Dolan, a spokeswoman for Cardinal George, says he knew about his mention in the book.  She would not confirm or deny whether the memo was fact or fiction.