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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. the breeze

    ROME knows THERE IS NO GOD. If they really believed would they abuse your kids and steal your money,NO they would be afraid but they know the truth,THERE IS NO GOD.

    August 13, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  2. prophet

    When Our Saviour Yeshua Mashiah came it is importnat to note that he didn't try to change the Romans i.e the government at that time as His thing was not against them, he came to help people as individuals and its only when we as people change can we begin to see change in the world and this is why God is a very personal experince and not religious, we need teachers but not the religious types, we need teachers who guide us to God with us and this is what Our Saviour did, we have the freedom to choose but we can only choose if we have what to choose from and being informed helps us to make the right choices.

    August 13, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • elatx

      shut up

      August 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  3. the breeze

    If catholic officials arn't abusing your children they're stealing your money

    August 13, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  4. the breeze

    Catholics coined the word CORRUPT.

    August 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  5. Lejaune

    What is the Holy See afraid of? So the God now knows the secrete of Vatican but what's the damage?

    August 13, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  6. 111Dave111

    Mormon God is a Space Alien, LOL
    Mormons Baptize Dead People, L&LOL
    Mormon Religion, Big Money, Big Bigotry. L&L&LOL
    Mormon man in white underwear, a reference to special Mormon garments. L&L&L&LOL

    August 13, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  7. narfzort

    the servant waits while the master baits.

    August 13, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  8. KamranCGW

    "Gabriele was held in a special Vatican cell for about a month and a half before being released to house arrest in July."
    Excuse me!?! I didin know the Vatican Continent, I'm sorry I mean City had judicial powers, IRRESPECTIVELY how SPECIAL that cell might have been!

    August 13, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Woody

      Vatican City is like a country all its own with its own laws ! How convenient ! Look up Vatican City .

      August 13, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • sumday

      Than you lack knowelege- the Vatican is it's own independent country with it's own laws, and police.

      August 13, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  9. andyoo

    He is send from God to fix the church.
    Should not be prosecuted.

    August 13, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  10. Scott

    "I was certain that a shock ... would have been healthy to bring the church back onto the right track"

    Not THAT kind of shock. The kind of shock they need is the "DON'T TAZE ME, BRO!!!" type.

    August 13, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  11. GoodbyeHarlot

    Just a while longer and the whole of christendom will be done away with. Phew, am I looking forward to that.

    August 13, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  12. kindless

    Guess we have to wait and see what this leaked info tells us about pope palpatine and his hord.

    August 13, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  13. Woody

    Priest live more like royalty ! Many do not get a large salary but how would you like a job with all expenses paid with included trips around the world ? Housing cost, cook, maid . Nuns are little more than servants to the priest . Yep they have a job teaching too . Its little more than a mans club ! Slip on a robe and rake in the money . Sell oz and give people an absolution that will never come !

    August 13, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • *

      *priests

      (pluralized just like 'nuns', 'servants', 'trips', etc.)

      August 13, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  14. Peace

    its all beginning to make sense

    August 13, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  15. Amalajehovah

    What the prophet said is absolutly true

    August 13, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  16. prophet

    many non believers have been deceived by the catholics etc as they also have the wrong information about Our God and this is why so many remain unbelievers because don't have the correct information given to them if thye did they may understand and accept that the truth is about Compassion.

    August 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  17. prophet

    sorry to disappoint you but His Name wasn't jesus or isous so the christian deception has had its affect on you as well

    August 13, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  18. Ari

    The popes butler??? Just how Jesus wanted it....LOL you'd have to be insane to be religious today

    August 13, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • blue wave

      The world spin around, it doesn't stay still as your thoughts and unmoving process of your atheist brain. People who are seeking god is like seeking a source of peace for themselves.If a book like bible doesn't have brightness and intellectual inside it, and all the Jews will keep having reason to call us " the unclean outsiders or gentile or alien". Jesus is the light of the world, and who doesn't see him, doesn't see the light.

      August 13, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  19. prophet

    When Our Saviour Yeshua Mashiah came it is importnat to note that he didn't try to change the Romans i.e the government at that time as His thing was not against them, he came to help people as individuals and its only when we as people change can we begin to see change in the world and this is why God is a very personal experince and not religious, we need teachers but not the religious types, we need teachers who guide us to God with us and this is what Our Saviour did, we have the freedom to choose but we can only choose if we have what to choose from and being informed helps us to do this

    August 13, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  20. prophet

    When Our Saviour Yeshua Mashiah came it is importnat to note that he didn't try to change the Romans i.e the government at that time as His thing was not against them, he came to help people as individuals and its only when we as people change can we begin to see change in the world and this is why God is a very personal experince and not religious, we need teachers but not the religious types, we need teachers who guide us to God with us and this is what Our Saviour did, we have the freedom to choose but we can only choose if we have what to choose from and being informed helps us to do this.

    August 13, 2012 at 12:22 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.