Pope’s butler arrested over leaks
VATICAN police have arrested a man – reportedly the Pope’s butler – on allegations of having leaked confidential documents and letters from the pontiff’s private study to newspapers.
The man was caught in possession of secret documents, the Vatican said, but it would not confirm the suspect’s identity, age, or when he had been arrested.
But informed sources said the man was Paolo Gabriele, 46, who had been working as a butler in the papal apartments since 2006. One source said the pope was “saddened and shocked” by this “painful case”.
“The inquiry carried out by Vatican police… allowed them to identify someone in possession of confidential documents. This person is currently being questioned,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said.
Il Foglio newspaper and ANSA news agency named the detained man as Gabriele, a member of the small team which works daily in Pope Benedict XVI’s apartments.
The Italian daily said he is likely to be used by the Vatican as “a handy scapegoat” for several others suspected of being involved in leaking documents, some of which ended up in a new book on the tiny state published a week ago.
Gianluigi Nuzzi’s “His Holiness” reproduces dozens of top secret and private letters and faxes which were smuggled out by whistle-blowers tired of the corruption and unhealthy bitterness in the Vatican.
The number of people who have access to the Pope’s private study is very limited, and includes his butler, four nuns and Benedict’s two secretaries, Georg Gaenswein and Alfred Xuereb.
Last month, the Pope set up a special commission of cardinals to probe the leaks, which began in January and have seen private documents splashed in the Italian media – to the embarrassment and rage of the Holy See.
The Vatican’s investigation into the source of leaked documents has yielded its first target with the arrest of the Pope’s butler, but the investigation is continuing into a scandal that has embarrassed the Holy See by revealing evidence of internal power struggles, intrigue and corruption in the highest levels of the Catholic Church governance.
The detention of butler Paolo Gabriele, one of the few members of the papal household, capped one of the most convulsive weeks in recent Vatican history and threw the Holy See into chaos as it enters a critical phase in its efforts to show the world it’s serious about complying with international norms on financial transparency.
the butler did it?
what sort of butler rides in the pope mobile with the pope?
keep the leaks flowing i say..
transparency is an affront to the vatican bank..
Father Federico Lombardi, the Pope’s official spokesman, was forced to speak out after several Italian newspapers claimed that the brains of the operation – where potentially embarrassing Vatican documents found their way into the Italian press – was an unidentified “prince of the church.”
Speculation has continued to gather pace that senior Church figures are behind the leaking of sensitive Vatican documents and that butler Paolo Gabriele, who has worked for Benedict XVI for five years, is nothing more than a scapegoat. Gabriele was arrested last week after documents were found inside his Vatican apartment.
Several Italian newspaper carried an interview with an anonymous whistle-blower who explained why the documents were being leaked.
“There’s a group of us: the real brains behind it are cardinals, then there are monsignors, secretaries, small fry”, the informer said.
“The valet is just a delivery boy that somebody wants to set up. Vatican intelligence has security systems more advanced than anything the CIA has but cardinals are still in the habit of writing their messages by hand and dictating them.