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.

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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.

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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. Sam Yaza

    oh my Goddess the Vatican is corrupt

    August 14, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  2. Al

    More antics from the world's only legalized group of pedophiles. It's okay to molest, as long as you have God on your side.

    August 14, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  3. Jack

    Hello folks. Everyone is cordially invited to visit ... thestarofkaduri.com

    August 14, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  4. Jack

    Hello folks. Everyone is cordially invited to visit – thestarofkaduri.com

    August 14, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  5. No fool

    Anyone who thinks that the old crimes of the Christian churches are things of the past should try to think again. Please note that the current Pope was known as the Grand Inquisitor before his election to Saint Peter's throne. While the public burning alive – with state-of-the-art refinements of cruelty – of recalcitrants would now be bad form if allowed, there are other ways of achieving world conquest -same goal as Islam's by the way -. They consist of encouraging in every way – US taxpayers' money included – those Catholic Latinos that violate our borders and of bringing by the planeload eager Asians who don't mind "converting" to reach and colonize US lands. "L'Amérique vaut bien une messe!" Also those Asians whose recent ancestors were nicely "prepped" by French Catholic missionaries in what was then called Indochina. All of which is meant to eventually drown and destroy the guilt-addled, politically incorrect masses of the Western world who have the audacity to read – sometimes write – forbidden books and – despite a methodically "dumbed down" education – somehow tend more and more to do their own thinking. That nation-undermining process has been going on for decades and continues right now. It grieves me to say so but I find a bit of comfort from blogs like this one. Many people are awake and aware of the danger. I wish everyone would read "In God's Name," a book by David A. Yallop.

    August 14, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      No need to put hindu Catholic ism, filthy compound of hinduism, illegality equal to Islam by hindu Jew's, filthy secular s, Con s-ti-un does recognize truth absolute as foundation of USA and does not recognize hindu Judaism, filthy secularism, criminality in any form, religion or otherwise, so does Islam, So Islam has same agenda as the founding fathers of USA. They both are same in essence, Obedience to truth absolute on any cost and ablution of hinduism, racism around the globe to give human their equality, given not by a man but truth absolute "HIMSELF"

      August 14, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  6. Nofate

    Tony: Please read an objective history of your church. The Vatacan has tortured and murdered more people than Hitler, Stalin and Pol-Pot combined. It is quite franky one of the true faces of evil in the world. The day the whole house of cards falls will be a joyous day indeed.

    August 14, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • eyetweaks

      He is a disgrace to all the pedofile clergy and a hero in the eyes of Man. Which is more valuable?

      Down with oganized religion it is the single most cause of death and murder int eh world. SInce most mantras go: if you dont believe in my god, the wya i believe in god then by god i have the right to kill you.

      OR in as in the catholic churches instances:
      I have the right to molest you that is what Jesus would want me to do right, ask any ?

      August 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Serious refutations of these assertion exist and have been posted. That doesn't stop the liars club though. Can you docuument what you propound?

      August 14, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • billdeacons

      I thought not

      August 15, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  7. mofo

    Just returned from mexico city recently...ugh...the church continues to take money from the poorest of the poor. Even after death the relatives have to pay to keep their loved ones. (dead) from getting stuck in purgatory. Not to mention the cover up and lies of pedophilia in their own ranks. Sickening indeed.

    August 14, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  8. Dr. Dude

    So they guy's in jail because he wanted to out the criminals?

    Non-nonsensical much?

    August 14, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • eyetweaks

      He is in jail for outing the political powers of the Pulpit. They who should be in jail but own the police force and can not be locked up while doing gods work even if that work is abusing young boys and girls its too important to lock up the real criminals so since this good guy told the truth he must be punished besides the alter boys are waiting their turn in the back and this is just slowing up the lines.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  9. Non Believer

    Saying that the Bible is proof of God is like saying that a Spiderman comic is proof that Spiderman exists. People used to believe all sorts of stupid things; the earth is flat (disproved by science), the planets and Sun revolve around the earth (disproved by science) and on and on. What has religion ever proved? That a bunch of people can become belligerent and even violent if you dont believe what they do or do what their imaginary friend says. The only reason people believe in religion is that they are indoctrinated into it by the people we trust most in the world.....our parents. For many parents "God" is an easy crutch to explain things to children instead of takeing the time to really talk to them.

    August 14, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Nofate

      Nice. Love the comic book analogy.

      August 14, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Papasan

      Well said!

      August 14, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      Bible is hinduism, absurdity of hindu Jew's, filthy secular s by hinduism, corruption of truth absolute, molded to justify hindu Mithra ism, filthy savior ism, men as truth absolute.
      word hindu is based on Latin word hindrance, negativity, Hun, great, as in white Huns of central Asia, Han to be in greatness, as in Han dynesty of china, hin, negative to both of them, hindu, a noun in negativity, hinduism, way of negativity.
      Word Jew is based on Latin word Yehood, Ya, attentive from heart and mind, base word your English word yes, hood, habit , meaning, self centered, secular or otherwise known as a pig, self centered, or denier of truth absolute.

      August 14, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  10. kitty

    This is not a surprise to me, for ages the catholic church and it's leaders have been hiding it's dirty laundry. They don't want the public to know how corrupt they are, cause they would loose converts by the drove. More killing has been done in the name of God in history. How can one rationalize killing in his name when their holy bible says thou shall not kill!

    August 14, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Can you list the incidents of killing in God's name compared the the list of killings without association to God?

      August 14, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • Veritas

      You'd need to contact your church for a full list of people killed by the inquisition. crusades, etc. Then there are the invasions of "heathen" countries – Africa, South America, etc. supported by the church. Then there are the inter-religion conflicts – N. Ireland, etc. Then wasrs against the "godless" – Vietnam, Korea, etc,

      August 14, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • billdeacons

      I'm not in any way denying that wars have been fought for religious reasons. kitty's comment is that more have been killed because of these than not. I simply asked to see the comparison. It's a great sound bite if you don't hace to back it up with any data though.

      August 15, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
  11. jxser

    catholics pray to Mary , enough said

    August 14, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Phil

      Um, no that is not enough said. What do you mean by that? Another ignorant comment from someone who knows NOTHING about Catholicism? We ask Mary to pray for us. Intercede for us. Same goes for the Saints. We do not worship Mary, we honor her. Why? Because Jesus did. The bigger question is...Why don't you? We are not controversial. You are.

      August 14, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      More could be said but Phil covered it pretty well

      August 14, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • SImran

      If you want the boss on your side, impress the wife. But this is another great idea. Get the mother on your side.

      August 14, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • koniword

      For Mary to be able to pray for Catholics she would have to be a "god" or in some way "supernatural". She would have to hear the prayers of millions of people at the same time and be able to recite prayers for all of those! RIDICULOUS and BLASPHEMOUS!

      "There is ONE MEDIATOR between God and man, the Man, Christ Jesus" – 1 Timothy 2:5

      If Catholics would read and study the Bible they would see how far the Catholic churched has strayed from the Truth.

      August 14, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Koni Let me ask you a few simple questions.

      1. Do you believe in Heaven?
      2. Do you believe people there pray for us?
      3. Do you believe Mary is the mother of Jesus?
      $. Why wouldn't you pray with her?

      August 14, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      Funny part is, Catholics are discouraged from reading the bible themselves, and are instead told to listen only to the preacher and read the Catechism.

      August 14, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      Blessed Mary died long time ago and departed from this word, word Mout, death in Hebrew means nothing else but end of choice, only thing human own in their life, she has no power herself to do any thing, nor she can hear any one from a distance but God, truth absolute, THE ONE blessed Mary and his son called upon all their life on this earth. Call Elllohim, El, the, Lo, limit, Him, absolute, your self, and seek what you desire and "HE" will answer you, than to be a hindu ignorant, seeking help from dead, unable to do any thing for any one.

      August 14, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • billdeacons

      Not true hawaii. Your information is out of date.

      August 15, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
  12. Jay

    The butler, in the vatican, with the candlestick!

    August 14, 2012 at 8:58 am |
  13. saggyroy

    The pope should do the xtian thing and forgive and forget.

    August 14, 2012 at 6:27 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      To forgive is not to forget.

      August 14, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  14. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things ,

    August 14, 2012 at 5:46 am |
    • Andy

      But, strange to say, not a shred of evidence.

      August 14, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Quid Malmborg in Plano TX

      "Prayer changes things..."

      ...everything except some people's way of thinking. Unfortunately.

      August 14, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • kindless

      oh my, well true, prayer will make you miss the bus, if you're not watching the time. but that's about it. Meditation or a good night's sleep is better for resting the mind. And if you need to collect your thoughts, you just go on and do just that, just try not to bring imaginary characters into the mind, that will just trick the mind and then it will just go in circles trying to correct itself.

      And of course atheism is fine for kids and grown-ups too! But atheists don't talk about their atheism to "other living things" the way some of the more weak-minded religious folk do. It wouldn't make any sense for me to talk about atheism to say my lovely begonia plant. It just needs the right amount of light and water. Maybe one of these days your mind will stop going in circles and things will clear up. my oh my. time for my tea.

      August 14, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs! `

      August 14, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • Nofate

      Prove it. Talking to an imaginary "friend" who seems more of a cross between Atilla the Hun and a petulant two year old changes nothing.

      August 14, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Veritas

      Have you prayed for some imagination? It's not working.

      August 14, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Proven ,

      August 14, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Veritas

      So provide some proof. Answer the points every time you post this (daily on each thread in case your memory matches your imagination).

      August 14, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  15. Rahul

    Why is the Pope so fat? While half the world is starving..

    August 14, 2012 at 4:46 am |
    • truth be told

      Why are you so stupid when the rest of the world is intelligent?

      August 14, 2012 at 5:46 am |
    • Nightfall

      you sound fat

      August 14, 2012 at 6:03 am |
    • God is a man made delusion

      Since when does the RCC care about anything or anyone but the RCC?

      August 14, 2012 at 8:35 am |
  16. Rick Baker

    The Catholic church is itself based on a massive fraud...it pretends to know things it does not know so why would anyone be surprised if people in the church are dishonest.

    August 14, 2012 at 3:42 am |
    • Mihai

      "it pretends to know things it does not know"..completely false. It doesent pretend to know anyting else than the holy scriptures.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:06 am |
    • sam stone

      mihai: it pretends to know that the scriptures are holy.

      August 14, 2012 at 5:40 am |
    • Mihai

      Yes, with eyewitness accounts..

      August 14, 2012 at 7:04 am |
    • sam stone

      edited, translated iron age hearsay

      August 14, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • sam stone

      One thing we know for sure is that "eyewitness accounts" are completely uncorruptable by translation and editing over thousands of years

      August 14, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Nofate

      Right on Rick!

      August 14, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  17. Moochelle

    Obama should apply for a butler position in Vatican because the bummer will be out of job in November. 😀

    August 14, 2012 at 1:59 am |
    • StallChaser

      Umm... last I checked, Ron Paul didn't get the Republican nomination.

      August 14, 2012 at 5:15 am |
  18. Inspector Holmes

    The butler did it ???????

    August 14, 2012 at 12:44 am |
  19. Don

    These people are evil! Its very difficult for me to understand that now a days people are still believing in religion. How you can go to bed and sleep in peace being part or supporting this kind of organization. My grandmother used to say: "Ignorance is the worst illness of our society". If I find myself in that situation I will jump through the window. At the same time I understand that no everybody has the courage to say NO to religion. Some people need it. They have nothing else in their lives. These is the kind of people that religion need to control their minds and provide them with the illusion of hope and safety. Its a very sad situation the this is still happening n the 21st Century. Personally, I found religion very insulting to my intelligence. People disagree with me, I understand. Its not easy to get rid of religion from your head after decades of brainwashing.

    August 13, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • Tony

      @Don, why is it difficult for you to understand why people practice their religion? I am a practising Catholic and actually get a very good sleep at night, thank you for asking. You are misguided into believing that Catholics support the shambles going on at the Vatican, we do not. Ignorance comes from one refusing to recognise and accept the revealed truth which is where you're obviously at. Don't tell me Don, you believe that we desended from monkees and that the world was created by the big bang, blah, blah, blah. Is that the best you can do? do you honestly believe that garbage? and please enlighten me about how your intellegence has been insulted? Did you not know that God created your intellegence in the first place and that you should give thanks to Him for this wonderful gift? Don,since you are so superior and full of 21st century wisdom, I'll leave you with these considerations that your science "religion" can not penetrate...the heart has it's reasons of which the mind knows not... there are only two types of people in this world, those who are afraid to lose God, and those who are afraid that they may find Him.

      August 14, 2012 at 1:35 am |
    • Religious

      If you have no values or morals that is your problem-do not generalize that everyone is like that. Ofcourse western nations do need to take a good look at themselves.

      August 14, 2012 at 2:11 am |
    • Sarah Grier

      Don, i totally agree with you!!! These so called ligious people have nothing else in their lives as support....some people just need spiritual support as their therapist....a cheap yet ignorant way of making their lives sane. Religion was used to incurr money and make their church rich! Even the popes and the vatican hundreds of years ago kill people ang go to war because it is God's will!!!! If they say, God created us, then why the hell would God want to kill people??? It is really sad how people get brainwashed since their childhood into believing God exists! That's a hard habit to break you know! And i wont be surprised if I get violent reactions after this comment! It is very hard to debate on religion.

      August 14, 2012 at 2:45 am |
    • sam stone

      values and morals exist within and without religion.

      August 14, 2012 at 5:45 am |
    • sam stone

      i believe that the morals that come from inside you, and are a result of your own experiences and empathy, are the most real

      August 14, 2012 at 5:48 am |
    • saggyroy

      @Tony: "You are misguided into believing that Catholics support the shambles going on at the Vatican, we do not." Yes you do if you keep going to church.

      August 14, 2012 at 6:31 am |
    • Fairyeducator

      Without churches then who would run soup kitchens and homeless shelters? Oh I'm sure people like Don and Sara Grier would, right?

      August 14, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So you think only the religious work in soup-kitchens and homeless shelters?

      Where did you get that nonsensical notion?

      August 14, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • kitty

      There is a big difference between man made religion and spirituality.

      August 14, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Nofate

      There is a group called Recovering from Religion that does an excellent job of "deprogramming."

      August 14, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  20. hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

    Boy abuse is a holy tradition of hindu, pagan Zoroaster ism, religion of hindu, pagan Magi's, fortune tellers, forerunner of Vatican. What do you expect? People of Lout.
    It your lack education, knowledge making you hindu, ignorant, boy abuse is part of hindu filthy Zoroaster ism, as Zoroaster himself announced his god, Ahora Mazda did it him, while he was swimming in a lake, Every hindu sanatan, filthy goon abused boys as holy tradition including Plato, Pythagoras and Aristotle and King James of England , writer of King James Bible. Catholic church and their hindu filthy priest abuse boy's by holy tradition of their hindu foundation and profession as Magi, fortune tellers, foundation of Catholic church. It is your hinduism, absurdity, member of Lout clan, not my knowledge.

    August 13, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • wordsdontmatter

      its a secular tradition of many parents over time too... heck abuse = human way... get more than 1 human together and abuse follows

      August 13, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      It is a holy tradition of hindu Jew's, filthy self centered, secular s. Father's of hindu pagan Catholic church.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Nofate


      August 14, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • eyetweaks

      unfortunately you sound like quite the expert on this subject?

      August 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      Seek truth from "HIM", the truth absolute and "HE" will guide you through you journey of life in truth. give it a shot, it is under your authority, "Choice" human ever owned in their life.

      August 14, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
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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.