Pope's butler leaked papers to shock 'corrupt' Church, prosecutor says
August 13th, 2012
05:48 AM ET

Pope's butler leaked papers to shock 'corrupt' Church, prosecutor says

By Richard Allen Greene and Hada Messia, CNN

Pope Benedict XVI's butler will be tried on an aggravated theft charge over the leaking of hundreds of secret papers from the pope's personal apartment to an Italian journalist, a Vatican spokesman said Monday.

The butler, Paolo Gabriele, acted out of a desire to combat "evil and corruption everywhere in the Church," according to a prosecutor in the case.

"I was certain that a shock ... would have been healthy to bring the church back onto the right track," the prosecutor, Nicola Piccardi, wrote in a report released Monday by the Vatican.

A second man, Vatican IT expert Claudio Sciarpelletti, will be charged with aiding Gabriele, according to the Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman.

Sciarpelletti is not suspected of conspiring with Gabriele, merely assisting him, and is not under arrest, Lombardi said.

The investigation is continuing, said Lombardi, raising the possibility of more arrests.

The trials are not expected to start before September 20, Lombardi said.

Gabriele, one of the pope's closest personal assistants, was arrested in May on suspicion of passing the papers to an Italian journalist. He faces the possibility of one to six years behind bars, Lombardi said.

The scandal has rocked the Catholic Church hierarchy and could even affect who becomes the next pope.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

It could be an effort to unseat Benedict's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who will run the conclave to choose the next pope if he is in office when Benedict dies, according to the Rev. Thomas Reese, author of "Inside the Vatican."

Gabriele was held in a special Vatican cell for about a month and a half before being released to house arrest in July.

The Vatican said Gabriele cooperated with investigators and admits leaking the papers, which consisted of faxes, letters and memos, including some from a high-ranking church official expressing concerns about corruption within the Vatican.

The arrest followed a top-level Vatican investigation into how the private documents appeared in the best-selling book "Sua Santita" ("His Holiness") by Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi.

The Vatican called the publication of his book "criminal" when it was released in Italian.

Copies of some documents used in the book were found in the butler's apartment, according to the judge's report released Monday.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

Gabriele was not paid for handing over the papers, according to the judge, Piero Antonio Bonnet.

Cardinal Julian Herranz got a "pontifical mandate" in April to uncover the source of hundreds of personal letters and confidential documents that made their way to Nuzzi.

Nuzzi would not confirm the identity of his sources, but he told CNN that his primary source - whom he referred to as "Maria" in his book - "risked life and limb" if ever found out.

The source worked inside the Vatican, according to Nuzzi, who refused to give other details such as the source's gender, age and if he or she was clergy.

Nuzzi's book highlights an internal power struggle within the Vatican through numerous documents, including faxes, personal letters and inter-Vatican memos. He told CNN that he received the documents during a year of private meetings in secret locations.

The Vatican has not denied the authenticity of the documents but instead says the breach of privacy is a criminal act.

–Journalist Barbie Nadeau in Rome contributed to this report.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI • Scandal • Vatican

soundoff (654 Responses)
  1. marinedad05


    I could have told them, 'The butler did it', everyone knows that.

    August 13, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  2. Dan

    Too bad there are no whistleblower laws at the Vatican to protect those who bring unpleasant things to public view. These men were very brave in what they did.

    August 13, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • nadinesh

      Heroes, in fact. He deserves one of those gaudy Italian medals, not prosecution. But this is the same Church that brought you the Inquisition. Disgusting.

      August 13, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  3. boocat

    This idiot has a butler??/!! I don't recall Jesus Christ having a butler, living in a mansion and driving around in a pimped up car...did I miss something?

    August 13, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • Me

      Yes, it's called hypocrisy.

      August 13, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • CNNReviewer

      You missed the decades of secret meetings in the catacombs where early profiteers recognized that, "the Christ crap can be used make millions." Let´s call market ourselves as the insider group and fake a connection to the man they called Jesus of Nazareth. Golden!

      August 13, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  4. biggal195

    "The best way to keep a secret is to not have one in thefirst place." -Julian Assange
    He's got a point.

    August 13, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • billdeacons

      And a secret

      August 14, 2012 at 12:25 am |
  5. hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

    hinduism, denial of truth absolute Christianity is based on hindu racist fundamentals of hindu, pagan Mithra ism, savior ism, truth absolute 360 divided among two hindu criminal men, 50% claimed by hindu pagan Pharaoh, man god and other 50% as man god by his hindu priest man god, Truth absolute, 360*/ 2 = 180*, 180*= 0.5 of truth absolute 360*, 0.5/3 trinity=1.666. Way of the hindu, devil.

    8 half belongs to . god hood of Pharoah and oth

    August 13, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  6. oshptest

    The funny thing is, I come from a family of Catholics. I have friends whose kids are in Catholic schools. None of them are even aware of any of this. If I forwarded this article to them, they'd scratch their heads and say "who? what?" The fact is, so many Catholics don't even know what their religion is all about or how it's organized. I want to shake them! They just keep handing over the money without even knowing who's in charge or what it's paying for. Yet they know all about politics and would never give a dime to Chick-Fil-A, Amazon, or a company that espoused values they didn't agree with.

    August 13, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  7. CNNReviewer

    HEAVY CENSORSHIP! Where is democracy at CNN?

    August 13, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Me

      Where is democracy stated (or implied) on CNN? Like it or not, they are free to censor as they wish. There is no law against CNN controlling what is posted on CNN.

      August 13, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • nadinesh

      Are you going to jail? Nope. So you have freedom of speech. CNN is not your private newspaper - it's their private newspaper. tough.

      August 13, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  8. Flappy

    The butler did it.

    August 13, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  9. UncleJohn

    Somebody buttles the Pope? I'd have thought once you were the top dog, that wouldn't happen any more.

    August 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  10. C Todd

    Why, Do people turn a blind eye to the corruption that goes on, This is know different than Sandusky, same thing and they want people to come forward..When things are right in your face for many years and nothing is done,, Money, Power, and who you are,, hmm. So glad the Vatican is not in control of a School or College... Plus it gives a bad image to who practice good faith.

    August 13, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  11. ManTex

    It would be nice if the Catholic Church spent the same effort getting rid of pedophiles.

    August 13, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Can you list the steps the church has taken to eliminate them?

      How about a list of things they have not done?

      August 14, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  12. quatom

    God is not real. That is why you see this.

    August 13, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Me

      God is too real, and she does not like what you are implying.

      August 13, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Lanfear

      I don't think "God" really cares if people believe in it or not. God is just a force of nature, not some insecure being.

      August 13, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • sam stone

      lanfear: that is why is should not be capitalized. you would not capitalize tornado, or rainfall, or sunshine. capitalizing it implies that it is a being

      August 14, 2012 at 6:05 am |
  13. MashaSobaka

    I'm heavily biased, because I'm not Catholic – I'm not even Christian – but I'm having a hard time seeing this butler as anything but a hero. The truth needs to be spoken.

    August 13, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • nadinesh

      Agreed. – another non-Christian

      August 13, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  14. Thoughts

    The corruption can wait.
    It's the child abuse coverup that needs to be addressed with the highest priority. Many children are being abused by these so called celibate priests. Celibacy is a misguided attempt at piety. How can God ask us to refrain from acting upon one of the most strongest emotions that he has created within us and that is required to sustain the human race.

    August 13, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • HollywoodPR

      The child abouse "coverup" is long dead. The Pope has acknowledged the errors of the Church many times, the Church has paid billions of dollars in damages, and the Church has changed the rules that govern its clergy and their relationship with children. Dozens of former priests are currently serving time in jail. Pretending that the Catholic Church is covering up an abuse scandal that everyone knows about is just stupid.

      August 13, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Lanfear

      Billions of dollars in damages huh... is that what they do with their donations nowadays? Good to know they're using it to help the poor... NOT!

      August 13, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Timmy

      Child rape from your priests no longer occurs? Keep telling yourself that while you continue to gulp the kool-aide. Supporters and protectors of child rapists such as yourself are the most vile disgusting delusional scum.

      August 13, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • billdeacons

      You do not understand celibacy

      August 14, 2012 at 12:28 am |
  15. Sue

    to Rocketscientist: My comments were not meant to offend sincere catholics. I was raised catholic as well as my parents, siblings and grandparents. However, just because one is faithful to a religion that has a large membership doesn't make it the right religion. Remember only 8 people survived the flood of Noah;s day. Noah his wife, their 3 sons and their son's wives. Speaking of false religion, the book of Revelation says " Get out of her my people if you do not want to share in her sins

    August 13, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  16. Steve

    The butler did it!

    August 13, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  17. mydogbill

    The Lord is angry because His House is beset with intruders.

    August 13, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  18. no nothing

    the butler did it in the study with a candlestick.

    August 13, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • CNNReviewer

      No, no, not the candlestick. It was Monica Lewinski and a cigar.

      August 13, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • old ben

      oh gross!

      August 13, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  19. rob

    More people need to take any actions necessary to bring down the corrupt, bigoted, greedy, hypocritical, repulsive Vatican.

    August 13, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Mary

      Awwww. Don't like the Vatican? I can tell.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • 29RealBlackMan29

      The most corrupted religion out there is the roman catholic church (Vatican) This goes back to when they were selling tickets to heaven- Martin Luther exposed it and they kicked him out with a letter stateing he could not get in heaven. The Vatican would do anything to keep secret the truth about the rest of jesus life. There is some truth to this will bring the church down. Control and riches is what the Vatican is all about

      August 13, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Lanfear

      Who actually DOES like the Vatican? a blind ignorant fool maybe.

      August 13, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • CNNReviewer

      Rob is right. Bring down the Vatican FOR GODDNESS SAKE! And bring down those who support these crimes/Church (conspirators).

      August 13, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • billdeacons

      As a Catholic I say "Go for it!"

      August 14, 2012 at 12:29 am |
  20. John

    I would love to see the scars the hide the old Nazi tats on the Pope just once and for all. I bet there was a time when he was very proud of them and what was happening to the less fortunate around he and his family.

    August 13, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Greyhound

      Dude. He was in the Hitler youth. He was like ten when hitler was in power. Everyone was required to be in the Hitler youth. Dont be an @sshole.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Marta Paglianni

      John all children were Nazi youth during that time and the Pope was like 9 or 10 yrs old. How about Bush and Cheney invading Iraq for not reason at all and based on lies and in the process killing over 200,000 innocent Iraqi babies, women and men and sending over 15K of our GI's to their death and also destroying our economic. CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY over 60 yrs after WW2.

      August 13, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • MashaSobaka

      The thing about being ignorant, John, is that you expose it every time you say something.

      August 13, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • CNNReviewer

      Marta Paglianni, those are not war crimes. Cronies connected within the Washington DC beltline made lots of money in these illegal wars. How can profits be bad in America (sacasm)?

      August 13, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.