Pope’s butler charged with stealing private papers

Pope Benedict XVI’s former butler was indicted Monday (Aug. 13) by a Vatican judge on charges of stealing the pontiff’s … Continued

Pope Benedict XVI’s former butler was indicted Monday (Aug. 13) by a Vatican judge on charges of stealing the pontiff’s private papers and leaking them to the press, a ruling that revealed for the first time that a second person was involved in a scandal that has been rocking the Vatican for months.

The so-called Vatileaks affair led to the publication of confidential documents revealing allegations of corruption, power struggles and personal rivalries behind the Vatican’s walls.

Paolo Gabriele, Pope Benedict’s personal assistant, was arrested by Vatican police on May 23 and will be tried for “aggravated theft,” according to the 20-page indictment by Vatican judge Piero Antonio Bonnet.

Gabriele, 45, was held in solitary confinement in a Vatican cell for almost two months before being granted house arrest.

Claudio Sciarpelletti, a computer expert working at the Vatican Secretariat of State, also was indicted for aiding and abetting Gabriele, but according to the Vatican chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, he only played a minor role and will probably incur a light sentence should he be convicted.

Gabriele, meanwhile, faces a six-year jail term, which could be lengthened to eight years should judges find one or more “aggravating factors.”

A raid at the butler’s Vatican apartment revealed he had amassed a large amount of papal documents, including a check made out to Pope Benedict for 100,000 euros ($123,000).

Both men will be tried by a court composed of three lay Vatican judges, who are also law professors at Italian universities. The earliest the trial would start would be late next month since the Vatican court is in recess until Sept. 20.

During the investigation, Gabriele told judges that he leaked the pope’s documents to journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, who then published them in the best-selling book “Sua Santita” (”His Holiness”) with the aim of “bringing the church back on the right track” through a media “shock.”

He said he was convinced that “evil and corruption” were “everywhere” in the church and that the pope was not adequately informed. “In a certain sense, I felt as an infiltrator … of the Holy Spirit,” he told prosecutors on June 5.

Two psychiatrists visited Gabriele on the Vatican’s behalf during the investigation. While they found the butler of sound mind and capable of standing trial, they also reported signs of paranoia and warned that he could be easily manipulated.

The indictment hints that Gabriele, besides copying confidential letters and memos from the pope’s personal office, might have also been receiving documents by other people inside the Vatican.

A sealed letter marked “Personal P. Gabriele” was found in Sciarpelletti’s desk at the Secretariat of State. According to Sciarpelletti himself, it had been given to him by an unnamed source, identified only as “W’’ in the indictment.

Vatican prosecutor Nicola Picardi stressed that his investigation was only “partially completed,” leaving the door open to further developments. A second, parallel investigation by an ad hoc cardinals’ commission created by Pope Benedict has completed its work but its findings are still unknown.

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  • Sang Riel

    When hell boy Benedict stands in front of our Saviour, our GOD… how is he going to explain his lack of forgiveness, how is going to explain why he just didn’t turn the other cheek ? Hmmmmmm ? How will he explain to our Lord that he had things he had to hide from the hearts and minds of men ? Seems to me that a truly Holy Man would have nothing to hide and would have chosen an entirely different path had someone

    transgressed against him. These are not the actions of a holy man , these are the acts of a phoney baloney pope that is full of pride and worries more about his reputation than the consequences for the man who found it necessary to enlighten us about less than holy goings on ..this action speaks volumes . I pray for the soul of Ratzinger.

  • Randy1243

    The more I look into this the more I wonder about several things – the Catholic church professes the word of Christ and protects child molestors who wear the vestments of the church – they turn the other cheek when innocent children are harmed and scarred for life – and yet someone who provides documents to the media about underhandedness in the church is persecuted by the same church. Odly enough I wonder where they would reside in prison – does the Vatican really have its own prison? And they said he was kept in solitary confinement for 2 months – that is long enough to make a sane mane have delusions.

    I do wonder if the church will explain the documents truthfully and not cover it up. Keep in mind that the CHURCH has done a world of good and does help many in need (mostly if Catholic though or member of their church), but even still – TURN THE OTHER CHEEK – does someone really deserve to go to prison for revealing papers to the public about a society that should have nothing to hide and nothing to fear if it is doing GOD’S work? How can anyone ever take the church seriously again if they condemn a man for this when the church is at the front of the line to stop other countries from using harsh punishment. If the leaders of the church had been doing the correct things then this incident would not have happened. It is the responsibility of all men to expose any evil or corruption or ungodly activity – especially when it is the church or members of the church doing it. How can someone be punished for doing as Jesus would do. Didnt Jesus even turn over the market tables that were defiling the church and expose them for what they were – If Jesus were here today and had done that then today’s church would have imprisoned him. Shame on the Catholic Church – rather SHAME ON THE LEADERSHIP that represents the church – the members are not at fault and do not deserve to be punished for the acts of their leadership which they really have no say in. So… in conclusion, the Pope needs to either fix this or let someone else provide the word and testament of our Lord and Savior. And even as we ask the Pope to forgive the exposer so should we ask ourselves to forgive the Pope and those involved who have done wrong in this.


    When will the RCC administration tell the RCs members the truth of any documents that do get publish in the media? Time is on the side of truth that always does come out. Just look at the abuse cases.