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Paolo Gabriele


Pope Benedict XVI has decided to pardon his former butler, Paolo Gabriele, who is serving an 18-month jail sentence for stealing confidential papers.

The Pope visited Paolo Gabriele in prison to personally inform him of the decision, the Vatican said in a statement.

In October the former butler was found guilty of stealing and copying the Pope’s documents and leaking them to an Italian journalist.

Paolo Gabriele said he acted out of love for the Church.

“This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI visited Paolo Gabriele in prison in order to confirm his forgiveness and to inform him personally of his acceptance of Mr. Gabriele’s request for pardon,” the Vatican statement said.

Pope Benedict XVI has decided to pardon his former butler, Paolo Gabriele, who is serving an 18-month jail sentence for stealing confidential papers

Pope Benedict XVI has decided to pardon his former butler, Paolo Gabriele, who is serving an 18-month jail sentence for stealing confidential papers

Following Paolo Gabriele’s conviction by a Vatican court, officials said he was likely to be pardoned by the pontiff.

In November the court convicted a computer expert, Claudio Sciarpelletti, of helping leak the papal documents.

Claudio Sciarpelletti was given a suspended sentence of two months.

Paolo Gabriele’s trial heard that he had taken advantage of his access to the pontiff to photocopy thousands of confidential documents.

He later passed some to journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, who this year released a best-selling book detailing scandals and infighting within the Vatican.

Paolo Gabriele confessed to taking the papers, but said he believed the Pope was being manipulated and hoped to reveal alleged corruption at the Holy See.

A Vatican court has convicted computer expert Claudio Sciarpelletti of helping Pope’s former butler Paolo Gabriele to leak information from confidential papal documents.

Claudio Sciarpelletti, 48, was given a suspended sentence of two months for obstruction of justice.

He was accused of aiding former butler Paolo Gabriele while working as a computer technician in the Vatican.

Paolo Gabriele was given an 18-month prison sentence this month after he admitted passing documents to a journalist.

Claudio Sciarpelletti had worked for the past 20 years in the Secretariat of State of the Holy See and was responsible for the maintenance of all computers.

His lawyer said an anonymous tip-off led Vatican police to search Claudio Sciarpelletti’s desk last May – finding an envelope addressed to Paolo Gabriele containing copies of sensitive documentation that had been leaked to the Italian media.

He had been charged with aiding and abetting Paolo Gabriele in leaking the document.

But the court decided that he was guilty only of obstruction of justice, because he had changed his version of events several times during the investigations.

Paolo Gabriele’s trial heard that he had used the photocopier in his shared office next to the Pope’s library to copy thousands of documents, taking advantage of his unrivalled access to the pontiff.

He later passed some of the documents to journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi.

Gianluigi Nuzzi released a best-selling book this year, entitled His Holiness, largely based on the confidential papers and detailing corruption, scandals and infighting.

Its publication sparked the hunt for the source of the leaks inside the Vatican, leading to Paolo Gabriele’s arrest.

Police said they had found thousands of documents at Paolo Gabriele’s home, including some original papers bearing the Pope’s handwriting. Some had the instruction “destroy” written by the Pope in German on them.

Paolo Gabriele confessed to taking the papers, but said he believed the Pope was being manipulated and hoped to reveal alleged corruption at the Vatican.

He told his trial that he did not see himself as a thief, but admitted he was guilty of “having betrayed the trust of the Holy Father, whom I love as a son would.”

The Vatican has dismissed suspicions of a wider plot, saying that Paolo Gabriele acted alone in obtaining the documents and giving them to the journalist.

Paolo Gabriele is serving his prison term in a special detention room inside the Vatican police station.

The Vatican authorities were worried that if he were to be moved into an Italian prison he might be subject to pressure to reveal secrets which might cause further embarrassment to the Pope.

 

Claudio Sciarpelletti, a computer technician, has gone on trial in the Vatican City charged with aiding and abetting Pope’s former butler, Paolo Gabriele, in stealing papal documents.

Claudio Sciarpelletti has been accused of helping Paolo Gabriele leak the confidential documents while working in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State.

His lawyer argued that his client has no case to answer and the trial should be dropped.

Paolo Gabriele was given an 18-month prison sentence by the same court last month.

He admitted passing documents to a journalist, but said he did it out of love for the church and the Pope.

Paolo Gabriele is serving his sentence in a special detention room inside the Vatican’s police station, amid talk that he may be pardoned by Pope Benedict XVI.

Claudio Sciarpelletti, 48, handled secret communications in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, the nerve centre of the Roman Catholic church.

His lawyer said an anonymous tip-off led Vatican police to search Claudio Sciarpelletti’s desk last May – finding an envelope addressed to Paolo Gabriele containing copies of sensitive documentation that had been leaked to the Italian media.

 

Claudio Sciarpelletti has been accused of helping Paolo Gabriele leak the confidential documents while working in the Vatican's Secretariat of State

Claudio Sciarpelletti has been accused of helping Paolo Gabriele leak the confidential documents while working in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State

 

During his brief arrest, he is said to have given confused and contradictory explanations to investigators.

Defence lawyer Gianluca Benedetti denied the claims that the former butler and Claudio Sciarpelletti had been good friends, and said his client had been in an “emotional state” in his interviews with investigators.

The Vatican has since said he played a “marginal” role in the scandal.

Senior Vatican communications officer, Greg Burke, said that although Claudio Sciarpelletti was being charged with aiding and abetting Paolo Gabriele, it was “more like an obstruction charge” relating to his contradictory testimony, the Associated Press reports.

However, the judge refused Gianluca Benedetti’s request to drop the trial, and said the next hearing would be scheduled for Saturday. Analysts say his trial is likely to be shorter than Paolo Gabriele’s which lasted for a week.

Interest in the case centres on who the witnesses called to give evidence may be, correspondents say. A senior cleric and two top Vatican security officials are expected to be called, as well as Paolo Gabriele himself.

It is thought the trial may shine a light on the extent to which other Vatican employees, including clerics, may have been involved.

Much of the stolen information ended up in a best-selling book by journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi about corruption, scandals and infighting at the Vatican.

Paolo Gabriele confessed to taking the papers, but said he believed the Pope was being manipulated, and that he hoped to reveal alleged corruption at the Vatican.

The Vatican authorities have limited press access to Claudio Sciarpelletti’s trial and no TV cameras were allowed in court.

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Paolo Gabriele, Pope Benedict’s former butler, found guilty of stealing papal documents, has been moved to a Vatican cell to serve the rest of his sentence.

Paolo Gabriele was given an 18-month prison sentence earlier this month.

He admitted passing documents to a journalist, but said he did it out of love for the Church and the Pope.

The Vatican secretary of state’s office has left open the possibility of a papal pardon if Paolo Gabriele repents and seeks forgiveness.

As neither Paolo Gabriele’s defence lawyer, nor the Vatican prosecutor, has entered an appeal, his sentence has now become definitive.

Paolo Gabriele will serve his prison term in a special detention room inside the Vatican police station.

The Vatican authorities were worried that if he were to be moved into an Italian prison he might be subject to pressure to reveal secrets which might cause further embarrassment to the Pope.

The Vatican has dismissed suspicions of a wider plot, saying that Paolo Gabriele acted alone in obtaining the documents and giving them to an Italian journalist who published them.

The trial of his co-defendant, Claudio Sciarpelletti, is due to start in early November.

The computer expert is accused of helping Paolo Gabriele while working as in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State.

Paolo Gabriele has been moved to a Vatican cell to serve the rest of his sentence

Paolo Gabriele has been moved to a Vatican cell to serve the rest of his sentence

Paolo Gabriele’s trial heard that he had used the photocopier in his shared office next to the Pope’s library to copy thousands of documents, taking advantage of his unrivalled access to the pontiff.

He later passed some of the documents to journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, who released a best-selling book about corruption, scandals and infighting at the Vatican, largely based on the confidential papers.

Its publication sparked the hunt for the source of the leaks inside the Vatican.

Paolo Gabriele confessed to taking the papers, but said he believed the Pope was being manipulated and hoped to reveal alleged corruption at the Vatican.

He told his trial that he did not see himself as a thief, but admitted he was guilty of “having betrayed the trust of the Holy Father, whom I love as a son would.”

 

Paolo Gabriele, Pope Benedict’s ex-butler, has been found guilty of stealing confidential papers from him and sentenced to 18 months in jail.

Prosecutors had called for a three-year sentence but it was reduced because of “mitigating circumstances”.

Speaking before the verdict, Paolo Gabriele said he acted out of love for the Church and did not see himself as a thief.

Paolo Gabriele had denied the theft charge but admitted photocopying documents and “betraying the Holy Father’s trust”.

His lawyer had asked for the charge to be reduced, but described the sentence as “good” and “balanced”.

Christina Arru later said she did not intend to appeal against the verdict, Reuters reported.

The agency quoted her as saying Paolo Gabriele was “serene” about his fate and “ready to accept any consequences”.

Paolo Gabriele is “very likely” to be pardoned by Pope Benedict, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said, though it is not clear when this might happen.

The former butler was accused of stealing and copying the Pope’s documents and leaking them to an Italian journalist.

Official Vatican media have almost totally ignored the trial since it began and morning radio bulletins have omitted to mention the story.

The verdict was delivered after two hours of deliberation by the judges.

Presiding judge Guiseppe Dalla Torre handed down a sentence of three years, then cut it to 18 months on the grounds of Paolo Gabriele’s lack of a criminal record, his apology to the Pope and past services rendered to the Church.

The former butler will also have to pay court costs out of his own pocket.

Paolo Gabriele has now been returned to house arrest inside his Vatican apartment, where he has already been confined for several months.

The verdict brings to an end a week-long trial that has revealed an embarrassing breach of security at the highest levels of the Vatican.

On the last day of the trial, defence and prosecution lawyers gave their closing arguments, and Paolo Gabriele made a final appeal.

“The thing I feel most strongly is the conviction of having acted out of visceral love for the Church of Christ and of its leader on earth,” he said.

“I do not feel I am a thief.”

Christina Arru accused the Vatican police of irregularities and failures during their investigations.

She asked the court to reduce the charge to common theft or illegal possession, saying Paolo Gabriele had high moral motives although he had committed an illegal act.

Prosecutor Nicola Picardi had sought a three-year sentence, with an indefinite ban on Paolo Gabriele holding public office or positions of authority.

During testimony, the three judges presiding over the court heard how Paolo Gabriele used the photocopier in his shared office next to the Pope’s library to copy thousands of documents, taking advantage of his unrivalled access to the pontiff.

He would later pass some of them on to journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi.

In 2010 Gianluigi Nuzzi released a best-selling book, entitled His Holiness, largely based on the confidential papers and detailing corruption, scandals and infighting.

Its publication sparked the hunt for the source of the leaks inside the Vatican, leading to Paolo Gabriele’s arrest in May.

Police also told the court how they found thousands of documents at Paolo Gabriele’s home, including some original papers bearing the Pope’s handwriting. Some had the instruction “destroy” written by Pope Benedict in German on them.

Although Paolo Gabriele entered a not guilty plea, prosecutors say he confessed to taking documents during an interrogation in June, a confession he later stood by in court.

He told prosecutors he hoped to reveal alleged corruption at the Vatican, and believed that the Pope was being manipulated.

“I feel guilty of having betrayed the trust of the Holy Father, whom I love as a son would,” he told the court earlier this week.

The Holy See wants to see rapid closure of the scandal, as this weekend the Church is beginning what it calls a “year of faith”, a series of initiatives aimed at reviving Christian faith in formerly predominantly Catholic countries currently seeing creeping secularism.

 

Paolo Gabriele, Pope Benedict’s former butler, who is on trial inside the Vatican, has denied charges of stealing confidential documents from the pontiff’s private apartment.

Paolo Gabriele, 46, pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated theft but said he had abused the Pope’s trust.

He said he believed the pontiff was being manipulated, and that he acted alone in copying the sensitive papers.

The files, which revealed allegations of corruption and infighting at the Vatican, were leaked to the media.

Paolo Gabriele was being questioned in court by the president of the Vatican City tribunal. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted, but he could be pardoned by Pope Benedict XVI.

The butler admitted to the court that he was photocopying documents in the Pope’s apartment, but said he did not regard this as a crime.

There has been speculation that the butler had accomplices as he set about leaking the Vatican’s secrets.

But he insisted in court that he had acted alone, adding that he had “many contacts” in the Vatican where he said there was “widespread unease”.

Paolo Gabriele also complained of the conditions he endured for weeks in a tiny Vatican cell after his arrest. He said it was so small that he could not extend his arms, and the light was kept on 24 hours a day.

The judges have ordered an inquiry into Paolo Gabriele’s allegations. However, the Vatican said conditions inside the Vatican police’s security room respected minimum international standards.

This is the second day of the trial. It was adjourned last week after Vatican judges refused to admit evidence gathered by cardinals.

Instead, the judges in the high-profile trial said they would rely only on evidence from the Vatican police and prosecutor. They seized 82 boxes of papers from Paolo Gabriele’s home.

The Pope’s private secretary, Georg Gaenswein, and one of the four German and Italian nuns who work in the 85-year-old pontiff’s household are also expected to testify.

Correspondents say their testimony could shed light on the very private world of the household.

The chief judge said the court hoped to reach a verdict by the end of the week.

No TV cameras or recorders are being allowed inside the courtroom for the most high-profile case to be held in the Vatican since it was established as a sovereign state in 1929. Coverage of the trial is restricted to just eight journalists.

Paolo Gabriele was identified as the source of leaked documents that were published in a book by an Italian journalist, Gianluigi Nuzzi, in May.

The documents included private correspondence between senior Vatican figures, and appeared to reveal bitter power struggles and corruption.

Correspondents say the revelations seem aimed primarily at discrediting the Vatican’s powerful Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who has been in his post since 2006.

The Pope ordered cardinals to carry out an inquiry separate to the probe by Vatican police after the scandal broke. The results of their investigation have not been made public.

The court decided that his fellow defendant, Vatican computer technician Claudio Sciarpelletti, will be tried separately for aiding and abetting a crime. He had exerted his right to stay away from the hearing.

Paolo Gabriele was the Pope’s trusted servant for years and held the keys to the papal apartments.

The “Vatileaks” scandal has been one of the most difficult crises of Pope Benedict’s seven-year papacy, correspondents say.

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Vatican judges have refused to admit key evidence in the trial of Paolo Gabriele, Pope Benedict’s former butler, charged with stealing sensitive documents.

Paolo Gabriele’s lawyers had asked to include evidence gathered by cardinals who carried out an inquiry into the “Vatileaks” scandal for Pope Benedict.

But judges at the high-profile trial said they would rely only on evidence from the Vatican police and prosecutor.

They adjourned the case until Tuesday, when Paolo Gabriele will be questioned.

The 46-year-old admitted to investigators that he had leaked confidential documents to expose “evil and corruption”.

He was identified as the source of leaked documents that were published in a book by an Italian journalist in May.

The documents included private correspondence between senior Vatican figures, and appeared to reveal bitter power struggles and corruption.

Pope Benedict XVI ordered cardinals to carry out an inquiry separate to the probe by Vatican police after the scandal broke.

The results of their investigation have not been made public.

Paolo Gabriele faces up to four years in prison if convicted of aggravated theft, but he could be pardoned by the Pope.

The court decided that his fellow defendant, Vatican computer technician Claudio Sciarpelletti, will be tried separately for aiding and abetting a crime. He had exerted his right to stay away from the hearing.

Paolo Gabriele was the Pope’s trusted servant for years and held the keys to the papal apartments.

It has been one of the most difficult crises of Pope Benedict’s seven-year papacy.

No TV cameras or recorders are being allowed inside the courtroom for the most high-profile case to be held in the Vatican since it was established as a sovereign state in 1929.

Paolo Gabriele, dressed in a pale grey suit, showed little reaction as judges rejected almost all of his lawyers’ requests.

He will be interrogated in court by the president of the Vatican City tribunal on Tuesday.

The chief judge said the court hoped to reach a verdict by the end of next week.

Among witnesses due to give evidence next week is Pope Benedict’s private secretary, Georg Gaenswein, and one of the six German and Italian nuns who work in the pope’s private household.

The Vatican butler was arrested in May, accused of passing papal correspondence to journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, whose book His Holiness: The secret papers of Pope Benedict XVI was published that month.

Correspondents say the revelations seem aimed primarily at discrediting the Vatican’s powerful Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who has been in his post since 2006.

Prosecutors quoted Paolo Gabriele as saying during his interrogation that he knew taking the documents was wrong but he felt the Holy Spirit was inspiring him to shed light on the problems he saw around him.

He said he felt the Pope was being kept in the dark or misinformed by his collaborators.

Pope Benedict said after his former butler’s arrest that the news had “brought sadness in my heart”.

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Paolo Gabriele, Pope Benedict XVI’s former butler, is set to go on trial in the Vatican on charges of aggravated theft.

Paolo Gabriele, 46, has admitted taking confidential documents and leaking them to the Italian media – although no guilty plea has been entered.

He has told investigators that he was hoping to expose “evil and corruption” within the Church.

While technically he faces up to four years in prison if found guilty, Paolo Gabriele could be pardoned by the Pope.

If he is jailed, he will serve his sentence in an Italian prison as Vatican City has no long-term detention facilities on its territory.

Paolo Gabriele, Pope Benedict XVI's former butler, is set to go on trial in the Vatican on charges of aggravated theft

Paolo Gabriele, Pope Benedict XVI’s former butler, is set to go on trial in the Vatican on charges of aggravated theft

Paolo Gabriele is standing trial along with Vatican computer technician Claudio Sciarpelletti, who is accused of aiding and abetting a crime.

He was the Pope’s trusted servant for years and held the keys to the papal apartments.

Many of the letters and other documents he took from the pontiff’s desk were published in a book by an Italian investigative journalist in May.

The so-called “Vatileaks” scandal has sparked allegations of corruption and internal conflicts at the Holy See.

It has been one of the most difficult crises of Pope Benedict’s seven-year papacy.

No TV cameras or recorders are being allowed inside the courtroom for the most high-profile case to be held in the Vatican since the Holy See was established as a sovereign state in 1929.

The Vatican was arrested in May, accused of passing papal correspondence to journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, whose book His Holiness: The secret papers of Pope Benedict XVI was published that month.

Some of the most sensational letters were written to the Pope by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, currently the Vatican’s ambassador to Washington, who was deputy governor of Vatican City at the time.

In one letter, Archbishop Vigano complains that when he took office in 2009, he discovered corruption, nepotism and cronyism linked to the awarding of contracts to outside companies at inflated prices.

He later writes about a smear campaign against him by other Vatican officials upset at his actions to clean up purchasing procedures.

The archbishop begs in vain not to be moved away from the Vatican as a punishment for exposing the alleged corruption.

Correspondents say the revelations seem aimed primarily at discrediting the Vatican’s powerful Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who has been in his post since 2006.

Prosecutors quoted Paolo Gabriele as saying during his interrogation that he knew taking the documents was wrong but he felt the Holy Spirit was inspiring him to shed light on the problems he saw around him.

He said he felt the Pope was being kept in the dark or misinformed by his collaborators.

“Seeing evil and corruption everywhere in the Church… I was sure that a shock, even a media one, would have been healthy to bring the church back on the right track,” he was quoted as saying in June.

Pope Benedict said after his former butler’s arrest that the news had “brought sadness in my heart”.

Psychologists were summoned by the Vatican to determine whether Paolo Gabriele could be held responsible for his actions.

The results were conflicting.

One report concluded that while he could be held accountable for his actions, he was socially dangerous, easily influenced and could “commit acts that could endanger himself or others”.

This report described Paolo Gabriele as subject to ideas of “grandiosity”, as attention-seeking and as a simple man with a “fragile personality with paranoid tendencies covering profound personal insecurity”.

Another report cited in the indictment concluded that the defendant, a 46-year-old father of three, had shown no signs of major psychological disorder or of being dangerous.

 

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Paolo Gabriele, former butler to Pope Benedict XVI, will stand trial for stealing confidential papers and leaking them to the press, a magistrate has ruled.

Paolo Gabriele was arrested in May after police found confidential documents at his Vatican flat.

He has been charged with aggravated theft while another Vatican employee, a computer analyst, faces complicity charges.

The Vatican says it is continuing to investigate the leaks.

Paolo Gabriele told investigators he acted because he saw “evil and corruption everywhere in the church”, according to Reuters.

If convicted, he faces up to six years in prison.

Paolo Gabriele, former butler to Pope Benedict XVI, will stand trial for stealing confidential papers and leaking them to the press

Paolo Gabriele, former butler to Pope Benedict XVI, will stand trial for stealing confidential papers and leaking them to the press

The Vatican also accuses computer analyst Claudio Sciarpelletti of acting as Paolo Gabriele’s accomplice.

The trial will not take place until October at the earliest, Judge Piero Bonnet has told the press.

Earlier this year a series of media leaks, dubbed “Vatileaks”, exposed alleged corruption and conflicts at the Holy See.

In April, the Pope set up a special commission of cardinals to find the source of the leaks.

As the Pope’s butler and personal assistant, Paolo Gabriele, 46, was one of a select few lay people with access to the papal apartments.

He has been living under house arrest at his family’s Vatican flat, where police discovered a stash of confidential correspondence taken from the Pope’s Secretariat of State.

Paolo Gabriele’s lawyer said his client confessed to stealing the papers but told investigators he thought he was acting in the interests of the Catholic Church.

His arrest took place shortly after the publication of a controversial book, entitled His Holiness, by Italian investigative journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi.

The bestseller featured reproductions of private correspondence between the Pope and his personal secretary discussing corruption and malpractice among Vatican administrators.

The Vatican called the book “criminal” and vowed to take legal action against the author, publisher, and whoever leaked the documents.

Gianluigi Nuzzi has refused to divulge whether Paolo Gabriele was one of his sources.

Some Vatican observers believe Paolo Gabriele may be the scapegoat for a wider conspiracy to smear certain of the Pope’s top aides.

The highly sensitive media leaks have been an evident embarrassment to the Pope, prompting the rare investigation.

The Vatileaks scandal has dominated the columns of Italian newspapers, filling TV programmes and magazines.

The controversy began in January, when Gianluigi Nuzzi published letters from a former top Vatican administrator begging the Pope not to transfer him for having exposed alleged corruption.

Other leaked documents concerned “poison pen” memos criticizing Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the pope’s number two, and the reporting of suspicious payments by the Vatican Bank.

 

Paolo Gabriele, Pope Benedict’s butler, has been released from custody and moved to house arrest.

The Vatican said that Paolo Gabriele will remain under house arrest pending a decision on whether he should stand trial for leaking confidential papers to the media.

Paolo Gabriele was charged in May after a series of leaks exposed alleged corruption and internal conflicts at the Holy See.

His lawyer Carlo Fusco said his client had operated on his own in an “act of love” toward the Pope.

The so-called “Vatileaks” scandal saw an Italian investigative journalist publish hundreds of secret documents detailing fraud scandals, nepotism and cronyism within the Holy See.

Paolo Gabriele, Pope Benedict's butler, has been released from custody and moved to house arrest

Paolo Gabriele, Pope Benedict's butler, has been released from custody and moved to house arrest

Italian media reported in May that a stash of confidential documents had been found in the apartment Paolo Gabriele shares with his wife and three children inside the Vatican.

“There are definitely no networks, no internal or external plots in which Paolo was involved. His motivations were all internal,” AFP news agency reported Carlo Fusco as saying.

“He wanted the Church to be more alive. He had an idea to help a situation.”

The Vatican’s judge, Piero Antonio Bonnet, has been instructed to examine the evidence of the case and to decide whether there is sufficient material to proceed to trial.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said a magistrate would decide whether to proceed by early August.

Italian media reported that if convicted, Paolo Gabriele could face a sentence of up to 30 years for illegal possession of documents of a head of state, probably to be served in an Italian prison due to an agreement between Italy and the Vatican.

 

Pope Benedict XVI has broken his silence on the Vatileaks scandal, expressing his anger at the way some parts of the media are covering the story.

Pope Benedict said “exaggerated” and “gratuitous” reports were painting a false image of the Holy See.

A series of leaks has revealed allegations of corruption, mismanagement and internal conflicts.

Paolo Gabriele, the Pope’s butler, has been charged with illegally obtaining private papal documents and memos.

Paolo Gabriele, 46, who lives with his wife and children in a Vatican flat, where a stash of confidential documents was allegedly discovered, has pledged “full co-operation” with the investigation.

Paolo Gabriele, the Pope's butler, has been charged with illegally obtaining private papal documents and memos

Paolo Gabriele, the Pope's butler, has been charged with illegally obtaining private papal documents and memos

The Vatican has denied Italian media reports suggesting that Paolo Gabriele had not acted alone, but was part of a group of 20 or so whistleblowers led by a cardinal.

During his weekly address in St Peter’s Square, Pope Benedict XVI said: “Suggestions have multiplied, amplified by some media, which are totally gratuitous and which have gone well beyond the facts, offering an image of the Holy See which does not respond to reality.”

He also spoke of the impact of the charges against Paolo Gabriele, his valet for many years and one a very limited number of people who had access to his private apartments.

“The events of recent days about the Curia [Vatican ecclesiastical officials] and my collaborators have brought sadness in my heart,” Pope Benedict said.

He added that he was grateful to those who had continued to work alongside him “every day, with loyalty and a spirit of sacrifice and in silence”.

On Tuesday, the Vatican undersecretary of state, Archbishop Angelo Becciu, called the reports a “brutal” attack on the Pope.

“It’s not just that the Pope’s papers were stolen, but that people who turned to him as the vicar of Christ have had their consciences violated,” he told the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

The scandal began in January, when Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi revealed letters from a former top Vatican administrator begging the Pope not to transfer him for having exposed alleged corruption.

The prelate involved, Monsignor Carlo Maria Vigano, is now the Vatican’s US ambassador.

Last month, the Pope set up a special commission of cardinals to find the source of the confidential memos.

But in the space of a few days last week, the head of the Vatican’s own bank was abruptly dismissed, Paolo Gabriele was arrested and an entire book by Gianluigi Nuzzi was published with reproductions of the Pope’s private correspondence.

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Paolo Gabriele, Pope Benedict’s butler, has been formally named as a suspect in the Vatican’s inquiry into a series of media leaks from the Church’s highest levels.

Vatican magistrates accused Paolo Gabriele, 46, of illegal possession of confidential documents.

A series of leaks, dubbed Vatileaks, has revealed alleged corruption, mismanagement and internal conflicts.

Last month, Pope Benedict XVI set up a special commission of cardinals to find the source.

Paolo Gabriele is the pope’s personal butler and assistant and one of very few laymen to have access to the Pope’s private apartments.

He lives with his wife and three children in an apartment within the Vatican walls, where Italian media report that a stash of confidential documents had been discovered.

“I confirm that the person detained on Wednesday for illegal possession of private documents is Mr. Paolo Gabriele, who remains in detention,” the spokesman for the Holy See, Father Federico Lombardi said, according to Italy’s state broadcaster, Rai.

Paolo Gabriele, Pope Benedict's butler, has been formally named as a suspect in the Vatican's inquiry into a series of media leaks from the Church's highest levels

Paolo Gabriele, Pope Benedict's butler, has been formally named as a suspect in the Vatican's inquiry into a series of media leaks from the Church's highest levels

Father Federico Lombardi added that now the initial stage of the process was complete, Paolo Gabriele had nominated two lawyers capable of representing him at a Vatican Tribunal, and had met with them.

He would, the Vatican spokesman added, have “all the juridical guarantees foreseen by the criminal code of the State of Vatican City”.

As the Vatican has no jail, Paolo Gabriele is being held in one of the three so-called “secure rooms” in the offices of the Vatican’s tiny police force inside the walled city-state, Reuters reports.

If convicted, Paolo Gabriele could face a sentence of up to 30 years for illegal possession of documents of a head of state, probably to be served in an Italian prison due to an agreement between Italy and the Vatican, Italian media report.

The Vatileaks scandal has filled Italian media – dominating the columns of Italian newspapers and filling TV programmes and magazines.

The detention comes during one of the most tumultuous weeks in recent history for the Vatican.

Last week a book, entitled His Holiness, was published by an Italian journalist with reproductions of confidential letters and memos between the pope and his personal secretary.

The Vatican called the book “criminal” and vowed to take legal action against the author, publisher, and whoever leaked the documents.

Last Thursday, the president of the Vatican bank – Ettore Gotti Tedeschi – was ousted by the bank’s board.

Sources close to the investigation said he too had been found to have leaked documents, though the official reason for his departure was that he had failed to do his job.

Ettore Gotti Tedeschi himself said the move had been a punishment for his attempt to make the bank more open.

The leak of a string of highly sensitive internal documents from inside the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, including personal letters to Pope Benedict XVI, has been an evident embarrassment to the Pope, prompting the rare investigation.

The leaked documents include a letter to Pope Benedict XVI by the Vatican’s current ambassador to Washington alleging cronyism, nepotism and corruption among the administrators of Vatican City.

Others concern “poison pen” memos criticizing Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the pope’s number two, and the reporting of suspicious payments by the Vatican Bank.

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The Vatican says it has detained a person, named by Italian media as Paolo Gabriele, who is suspected of leaking a series of confidential documents and letters to the media.

Reports citing unnamed sources said he was the Pope Benedict’s personal butler.

The “Vatileaks” scandal, as it is known, has enraged the Holy See. The leaks have revealed alleged corruption, mismanagement and internal conflicts.

The Vatican said the person detained was being questioned by Vatican magistrates.

Last month, Pope Benedict XVI set up a special commission of cardinals to investigate the leaks.

“The inquiry carried out by Vatican police… allowed them to identify someone in possession of confidential documents,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told journalists.

“This person is currently being questioned.”

Italian media have named the arrested man as Paolo Gabriele, a personal butler and assistant to Pope Benedict XVI and one of very few laymen to have access to the Pope’s private apartments.

Italian media have named the arrested man in Vatileaks scandal as Paolo Gabriele, a personal butler and assistant to Pope Benedict XVI and one of very few laymen to have access to the Pope's private apartments

Italian media have named the arrested man in Vatileaks scandal as Paolo Gabriele, a personal butler and assistant to Pope Benedict XVI and one of very few laymen to have access to the Pope's private apartments

Among the select number who are allowed to enter the Pope’s private study include four nuns and two secretaries, as well as the butler.

Italian media reports said that a stash of confidential documents had been discovered at his flat, within the walls of the Vatican.

The news of the arrest comes just a day after the president of the Vatican bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, was ousted by its board.

The official reason for his departure was his failure to fulfill the “primary functions of his office”, the Vatican has said.

But, according to reports, he was also suspected of being involved in the leaking of the documents.

Ettore Gotti Tedeschi said had been punished for his attempt to make the bank more open.

“I have paid for my transparency,” he told Reuters.

The Vatileaks scandal has filled Italian media – dominating the columns of Italian newspapers and filling TV programmes and magazines.

The leak of a string of highly sensitive internal documents from inside the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, including personal letters to Pope Benedict XVI, has been an evident embarrassment to the Pope, prompting the rare investigation.

The leaked documents include a letter to Pope Benedict by the Vatican’s current ambassador to Washington alleging cronyism, nepotism and corruption among the administrators of Vatican City.

Others concern “poison pen” memos criticizing Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the pope’s number two, and the reporting of suspicious payments by the Vatican Bank.

If the person detained is a layman he would be put on trial in Italy, under Italian criminal law.

But if he is a churchman, he could be tried for breaching ecclesiastical law by a Vatican tribunal, though this would be extremely rare.