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. Bman

    This man will never see the light of day as long as the vatican has a say in it. The Italian government should be demanding his release. The Inquisition ended in the last millenium

    August 13, 2012 at 9:46 am |
  2. prophet

    We are Praying for all of you and muslims should not comment on here as they are infidel and their religion is based on magic even their own people say this. See the videos on You tube about all those thousands of muslims who have converted to be christians, its extraordinary the amount that have done this as they want peace not evil.

    August 13, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • JakeAZ

      you are derranged.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • not again

      blah blah blah, who are you going to condemn to hell this week?

      August 13, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Mohammed_Islam

      Islam is the only way of life and it gives the mankind freedom of chosing what a human wants to beleive in and everyone of us will be standing in front of our Creator on that day and will be held accountable where there will not be any counselors... as Quran says 'la ikraha fid deen' meaning 'there is no compulsion in religion' chapter 2 verse 256... throughout the quran, it talks about the free will that is given to human and satan is there to misguide human by taking these human away from worshipping one true God by associating partners with The Creator i.e. son, daughter, associate, idols etc... and as a Muslim we have been commanded to convey the message but do not force and let him make his own decision by using the free will.... also quran teaches 'la kum deen ukum walya deen' meaning 'you do your religion and i do mine'....


      August 13, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Canada

      Yea, Free will to everyone except women, and the barbaric practice of stoning. and makeshift community trials.
      It's funny cuz the stuff you say emmulates what the bible said. except in my holy text, it says how Satan has a copy, a duplicate of most things God has. except it is evil, and it's evil can be seen in its practices. Sounds like that would be Islam to me.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Mohammed_Islam

      You have no idea or you have very limited idea or you have met those muslims who not knowing dislikes the laws of Islam…

      The laws are there to prevent the crime and not to implement to everyone… isn’t adultery the part of the ten commandments? What is wrong with you? Or you are performing it and which why you do not like this law as a driver does not like the speed laws while driving out of speed limit…

      Only Islam gives woman a true respect and none else… I can challenge it… here pay attention on this verse talks about spouse:

      And of His signs is that He created for you your wives from yourselves that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you love and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought. Al Quran: Chapter 30: Verse 21

      August 13, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Anonymous

      Anyone who reads the Koran knows that Islam is not that different from Christianity. Actually, Muslims believe that Islam is almost a continuation of Christianity. They believe that Islam is now the true religion as God reveals more to man. It is not founded on "evil". Stoning someone for committing adultery is in the Bible too...

      August 13, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Canada

      I just can't agree with any of your ideals. It makes sense to me, but it is not rational.

      August 13, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  3. humanbean

    Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

    August 13, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • dennis

      I am so sick of the thing called "catholic church." It needs to be destroyed like Penn state is. From corruption to pedophilia, how can you call this a church. THe most ignorant thing is how many people are being led by their traditions. Even if a corrupt pedophile leads them, they will blindly follow. Stupid is as stupid does!

      August 13, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  4. Naja Joie

    I can't wait until this bestselling release makes it to the US. I wll make room on the iPad for it.

    August 13, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  5. rick

    A thought on all the anti-catholic stuff that always seem to make an appearance in these discussions:
    I am a lapsed Catholic myself, but that has more to do with my own challenges with God, than with issues with the church itself. The church is staffed by humans, and has all of the weakenesses implied by that. From lowly priests to the bishops, to the pope himself, they are all human, and capable of mistakes. One poster suggested that Catholics worship the pope. Clearly, this poster is not Catholic, has never spent anytime with Catholics, has no idea what he/she is talking about, and is just repeating anti-catholic drivel that plays well to the ignorant masses. While most Catholics to respect, honor, and trust the pope- he is not worshipped. At any mass I have ever been to, we pray FOR the pope and other church leaders, not to them.
    As far as the wrongs committed by members of church, that does nothing, and should do nothing to change my opinion of the church as a whole. All of the priests I dealt with as a child were truly wonderful men of god. It would be wrong of me to blame or judge those good men for the actions of a small percentage of sick individuals in the priesthood that bishops wrongly chose to protect. Now, especially in my state where the scandal broke, the bishops in power now are equally innocent of wrongdoing. The ones most responsible for the coverups have been sent packing- those remaining are also generally truly good men of God.
    These continued attacks on the church for past actions demonstrate the widespread anti-catholic bias that exists in America today, and siezes on any opportunity to further its hateful agenda. The hate behind these attacks is every bit as real, and every bit as illogical as popular, but hateful beliefs from the past. Blaming all priests for the actions of a few is every bit as wrong as blaming all blacks, all muslims, all jews, all gays, all italians, all puerto ricans, all women, all men... for the actions of a few. I encourage those those that find it easier to hate than forgive to spent some time in quiet reflection, and try to understand their own motives.

    August 13, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • ddrew78

      Thank you, could not have said it better myself

      August 13, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • dennis

      There is no hate, this organization is just an abomination to anything to do with God! Don't use the word church, it's just another corrupt organization. Stop defending corruption. Their whole system is not biblical. Find yourslef a real church.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • not again

      the Catholic Church is like the Mafia, it's organized crime, protected by governments, immune to prosecution for it's transgressions against mankind, a purveyor of lies and fatasies.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • Canada

      READ REVELATIONS, and you will see why we are disgusted by the Catholic church.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Anonymous

      Thank you! That was perfect!

      August 13, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  6. Terry

    Take justice upon those who give tha truth..really....the atrocities of the church is present which dealings has nothing to do with god..... More like the devil...and in the same book the evils has been hidden for centuries......there are angels and demons that walk among us...and in disbelief we give up or faith because the action of others..i think not...in tha coming days...those of the faith shall be persecuted for it..and for that who is without sin...what is forgiveness..the pope did what to his butler for uncovering the truth...this is sad..im not atheist...nor catholic...even called a christian is borderline nowadays...also i seen things beyond the unexplained....but to act as if im holier than thou is act within itself especially when darkness is present....

    August 13, 2012 at 9:37 am |
  7. Mohammed_Islam

    Does Catholics worship creatures like human either dead or alive?

    August 13, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Canada

      That doesn't make any sense. Christians (and most Catholics) worship God, who IS life. We also worship in him his Son, who was as human, but completely sinless. He is both Dead and Alive. Alive in eternal life and glory, but Dead from sin, and it is his slave. And All the nations will bow before him. He does not like the blasphemes of Satanic texts which lower him and his power. I died with Christ, and am Alive in him. and Of this world I remain, but I am dead from it.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  8. prophet

    the ultimate hypocrisy are any religion from the reformation i.e luther, he was a jew hater and all these religions i.e protestants etc are all antisemtic which starnge because Our Saviour Is Jewish. So they are lying to themsleves and others i.e pretending to believe in God. Bizarre isn't it. The germans of the WW2 no names mentioned based what they did on Luthers writings, its on the internet just find antisemitism and luther and you see his own writings about it. Luther also means lucifer. we live and learn.

    August 13, 2012 at 9:35 am |
  9. tick

    what happens when you try to facilitate free speech/freedom of press and just plain honesty in a catholic country?
    you go to jail.

    August 13, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • It's called theft

      It's called theft, when you steal from someone's apartment, you go to jail.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:51 am |
  10. Aniya

    There's a reason why I left the Catholic Church and embraced Islam. No, I'm NOT a Muslim, I just embraced Islam, believe in the Almighty God, do good and that's it. Even my brother who once studied to become a priest said Jesus NEVER did say he was God - it was all doctored later by the Church.

    August 13, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • prophet

      your a very silly person as muslim is evil and your brother read the wrong books as Our Saviour has many times admitted He and God are One, so learn from the right people. This is why people like you turn away from God because your misled by the religions and your brother either shows us this with that he is obviously not clever enough to understand what was Said in The Bible and its all Bibles or he read the wrong.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Simran.M

      Hmmh, maybe. But you know what, my religion says that I and God are one too. That doesnot mean that I should start worshipping myself. Probably he was just saying that God is within him and also within you.

      August 13, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Mohammed_Islam

      With due respect to your belief, did u know that on third century the emperor Constantinople added the trinity concept in the book that you are referring to? and there are lot more... what you are saying are... all these teaching of the writers of these gospels and also there are contradictory information within the Christian Scholars that the original writers for these gospels are different... someone wrote it and used their names.... also please study the Christianity of first few centuries... where the state of the head was the head of the church... what could have been done where the head of the state did not find things on his own way? and they did whatever they wanted as Constantinople did....

      So is Christianity really following Jesus or the writers of these gospels… oh and the Hebrew chapters has not clue who and when was it written… my suggestion is to spend sometime to know what you believe and what you want to believe… also if you really like to know about what real Jesus was, please read Quran… more eighty times the name of Jesus is mentioned in this book… where there is a chapter with Jesus’ mother name ‘Mary’ chapter 19, there is another chapter name ‘ale imran’ the grand father of Jesus, chapter 3… and then compare what Jesus really was dear brother in mankind…


      August 13, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • Aniya

      Prophet, whoever you are, READ! I'm NOT a Muslim, I just embraced Islam because I believe in THE ONE GOD. There is no other GOD. Jesus was NOT God. He was a great man. That's it. But the Church doctored the teachings and made him god because, in those days, people needed to worship 'something they could see'. I believe in Jesus' great teachings, but I don't consider him God anymore.

      And what's wrong with being a Muslim? Muslims are not evil. Evil-doers are eveil-doers, regardless of religion. In fact, you are the evil one! You consider yourself 'superior'? There is noone more evil than the one who considers himself superior and looking down upon others. You are NOT a Chirstian, NOT a follower of Jesus, whose teaching says "be humble".

      August 13, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Canada

      Umm, to embrace islam IS to be Muslim, (muslim is not a race, but a believer) Aniya and the other fellow are very lost. and the Quran does have Jesus in it, It's a tool used by Satan to confuse who Jesus was. that's why the Koran emmulates the bible. except in the most key beliefs. Cuz it's easier to manipulate people when there is a bit of truth to the lie. And Aniya. you are retarded. Jesus even told Pilate that He is a King, and that His Kingdom is not of this world. so I discredit everything you say as you've clearly not read the text.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  11. Chris

    does the leaked papers show all the abuses of young boys the Pope has decided to forego and hide, he is basically another Joe Pa!!!!!!
    Prove me wrong people,

    August 13, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • jbcal

      You made the claim, you prove you're right.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:41 am |
  12. prophet

    mr ratzingers hat is actually modelld on the Jewish kippah as the catholics have tried to mimic the jews in dress code as after all Our Saviour came from Israel so whilst they tried to de-judaise Our Salvation they tried to keep it familar so they would be able to mislead people. This is the same with most hats from the catholics. Its a way of making people comfortable whilst the clergy deceive them.

    August 13, 2012 at 9:29 am |
  13. prophet

    did you know that assad is doing what hes's doing because he's angry with his wife and thats why he bombed homs first because that was the town of her parents, she was never at home and made a fool of him, used him and so now as he said he will destroy everything in revenge. We are praying.

    August 13, 2012 at 9:25 am |
  14. Hear Ye

    The criminal catholic church needs more inside information to get out to show the rest of the world what they are REALLY up to. MAny thanks to the poop's buttler.

    August 13, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  15. WEs

    Don't mess with the church or you will burned at the stake.

    August 13, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  16. gigi


    August 13, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  17. WomenOnGuard

    Looks like the next best seller is around the corner!

    August 13, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • RichelleD

      Can't wait!

      August 13, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  18. Mission? What mission?!

    "... the church would have completed its mission." Not as long as there's money to be made and choir boys to date.

    August 13, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  19. Terry

    When tha truth comes out of wickedness comes forth to be examined by every1..hidden in darkness all things shall be known just tha beginning of tha end..all things shall be uncovered .... Even those who claim holiness..the word is just even for those who claim exemption...

    August 13, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  20. Cal

    So which Bible verse justifies the Pope's hat?

    August 13, 2012 at 9:17 am |
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