Entries in Vatileaks (5)


Results of ‘Vatileaks’ Probe for ‘Pope’s Eyes Only’

L'Osservatore Romano Vatican-Pool/Getty Images(ROME) -- Pope Benedict XVI decided to keep secret the contents of an investigative report on the “Vatileaks” scandal, ruling that the only person who will get to see it will be the next pope.

The top secret dossier details the findings of an internal investigation the pope launched last April into the so-called Vatileaks affair, in which Benedict’s former butler leaked confidential documents stolen from the papal chambers.

Italian newspapers have claimed — without attribution — that the investigation revealed a sex and blackmail scandal inside the curia.

The Vatican spokesman Monday underscored that the contents of the dossier are known only to the pope and his investigators, three elderly prelates whom the Italian papers have nicknamed “the 007 cardinals.”

Pope Benedict met Monday with Cardinals Julian Herranz of Spain, Jozef Tomko of Slovakia, and Salvatore De Giorgi of Sicily in a private audience.

According to the Vatican, the pope thanked them for their work and expressed satisfaction with their investigation.

“Their work made it possible to detect, given the limitations and imperfections of the human factor of every institution, the generosity and dedication of those who work with uprightness and generosity in the Holy See,” read a Vatican statement.

The Vatican statement pointedly added: “The Holy Father has decided that the acts of this investigation, known only to himself, remain solely at the disposition of the new pope.”

Many here had expected the investigating cardinals, who are too old to participate in the conclave, would brief the voting cardinals about their findings.

Today Vatican officials clarified the investigating cardinals will be free to discuss their investigation with the other cardinals, as the voting members of the conclave seek to understand the challenges the next pope will face.

But the dossier itself will remain “For the Pope’s Eyes Only.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Pope's Butler Told Court He Leaked Private Documents for the Good of the Church

L'Osservatore Romano Vatican Pool via Getty Images(VATICAN CITY) -- Pope Benedict's former butler took the stand at his own trial Tuesday to say that while he admits he took thousands of documents from the pope's private apartments and leaked them to the media, he is not guilty of theft because he was doing it for the good of the church, "to bring the church back on the right track."

"I declare myself innocent concerning the charge of aggravated theft," former butler Paolo Gabriele told the court. "I feel guilty of having betrayed the trust of the Holy Father, whom I love as a son would."

Intrigue, corruption and back-stabbing are not new at The Vatican; what is new is that Gabriele's indiscretions have opened the doors on Vatican dirty deeds in a way that has never happened before.

Gabriele, 46, worked in Pope Benedict XVI's private apartments overlooking St. Peter's Square. He brought the pope his breakfast, helped him dress and was constantly at his side. No layman was closer to the pope.

Only eight accredited Vatican journalists are allowed to observe the court proceedings, which are conducted only in Italian. They are chosen by lottery.

One of them, veteran Vatican reporter Paddy Agnew of the Irish Times, told ABC News that Gabriele was calm and dignified.

For Agnew there were two critical points that surfaced:

"He points out that -- as the butler -- he is the closest lay person to him. And as example serving him at the table, he exchanges words and has a chat and he came to the conclusion that, from those exchanges that the Pope is not as informed as he should be, he does not know things that he should know ... about things in the world, in the Vatican, in the church," Agnew said. "We are not talking about football results, we are talking about serious matters of church affairs and state affairs."

"The other thing he -- he speaks of the degradation of the church, the degrade, or the dissatisfaction amongst people in the curia, he comes to the conclusion that a person of power, a person of huge decisional power is very open to manipulation," Agnew said. "He doesn't say that the pope is very open to manipulation, but one presumes that is who he is referring to."

It adds up to portrait of a pope who is not in control of his own church. Benedict, now age 85, is clearly frail. He returned just Monday from a three-month summer break at his hillside residence outside Rome.

Since he ascended to the papacy in 2005, Benedict has been criticized for being more interested in books than in the business of governing. What seems to have set off the butler is a growing sense of alienation around the pope's second-in-command, Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, who is effectively the Vatican's prime minister. Bertone has the pope's trust and runs the day-to-day affairs at the Vatican on the pope's behalf.

The scandal, known as "Vatileaks," built this spring as more and more confidential papal documents began appearing in Italian newspapers. They exposed widespread corruption, cronyism and backdoor payments in return for favors.

It reached a crescendo in May when an Italian journalist published His Holiness: Pope Benedict XVI's Private Papers, a book that became an overnight bestseller here. It chronicled intrigue and scandal and included copies of private documents to prove it. Documents show that wealthy Catholics could gain an audience with the pope simply by donating 10,000 euros ($13,000). Many of the documents point to Bertone.

In court Tuesday the pope's private secretary Georg Gaenswein said it was only when he read the book that he realized that Gabriele had to be the source of the leaks, because some documents had clearly been taken from a desk that only Gaenswein and Gabriele had access to.

That led to an Agatha Christie-like moment in the pope's apartment when Gaenswein summoned all of the papal employees into a room and asked each one: "Did you steal the documents?" Everyone, including Gabriele, denied it.

Several days later, 82 cardboard boxes of evidence were removed from the Vatican apartment Gabriele shares with his wife and three children. Again Tuesday Gabriele insisted he was acting entirely on his own, but few Vatican observers believe that.

"I think the butler is too simple a person to do something on his own," papal biographer Marco Politi said. "If it happened, there are others helping him and maybe leading him."

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said Gabriele did not have malicious intent.

"Paolo Gabriele has clearly admitted having committed the act, to having collected and brought these confidential documents out. He stated that he did not act for economic gain, but because of the personal unease he was living in and feeling around him," he said.

The trial is scheduled to continue Wednesday and again on Friday when it may conclude.

Vatican sources say if Gabriele is found guilty he is almost certain to be pardoned by the pope.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Vatileaks Butler Pleads Not Guilty, Admits to Abusing Pope's Trust 

Franco Origlia/Getty Images(VATICAN CITY) – Pope Benedict XVI’s butler was in Vatican Court Tuesday, where he pleaded not guilty to aggravated theft charges.

According to the BBC, Paolo Gabriele, 46, admitted to abusing the Pope’s trust and photocopying documents from Benedict’s apartment, but maintained that he did not think his actions constituted a crime.

Gabriele also insisted he acted alone in releasing the trove of papal documents known as Vatileaks. The BBC’s Alan Johnston reported that Gabriele denied having accomplices, though he did admit to having contacts throughout the Vatican, which is filled with “widespread unease.”

The butler also complained about his treatment in jail, complaining that when he first arrived, his cell was so small he couldn’t hold out his arms, the BBC says, and lights were kept on at all hours of the day.  The Vatican claims that his detainment has been up to international standards.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pope's Butler Stands Trial for Vatileaks

Franco Origlia/Getty Images(VATICAN CITY) -- The Vatileaks scandal continues as Pope Benedict’s personal butler stood trial Saturday for releasing sensitive church documents to the public.

Similar to Wikileaks, Vatileaks contains reams and reams of papers. But according to Italian journalist Marco Politi, the documents leaked by Paolo Gabriele, “always focused on matters of money and power.”

Because the butler has already confessed, Politi thinks the prosecution’s main goal will be to identify those who helped Gabriele release the documents. “Around [Gabriele] there is a group of dissidents," he says, "Who are uneasy about the way the government of the Holy See is working and especially about the leadership of Secretary of State Cardinal Bertone.”

The 77-year-old Bertone is Pope Benedict's long-time deputy and trusted confidant.

According to the Telegraph, Gabriele is also accused of stealing a collection of gifts intended for the Pope, such as gold, artifacts and a check made out to Benedict for 100,000 Euros. If convicted, Gabriele faces up to four years in prison. He will appear in court again on Tuesday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pope Benedict's Butler Arrested

L'Osservatore Romano Vatican Pool/Getty Images(VATICAN CITY) -- Pope Benedict XVI's butler was arrested on Saturday after being suspected of leaking hundreds of Vatican documents to the press earlier this year.

According to the Italian news agency ANSA, Paolo Gabriele, has been under surveillance for several weeks. The Papal Spokesman, Frederico Lombardi, confirmed to the Italian media on Friday that a suspect was found "in illegal possession of confidential documents," but at the time of the press conference, Gabriele’s name was not mentioned.

In January of this year, hundreds of documents were leaked to the Italian media. The incident has since been dubbed “Vatileaks.” These documents contained several letters to the Pope and other officials at the Vatican, and contained allegations of corruption in the management of Vatican City.

Gabriele, 40, is not a clergy member. He has worked for Pope Benedict since 2006, and is one of seven people who have access to the Pope’s private apartments where the documents were kept.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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