Pope's butler must stand trial - court

2012-08-13 16:16
Vatican spokesperson Father Federico Lombardi meets with journalists at the Vatican. (Gregorio Borgia, AP)

Vatican spokesperson Father Federico Lombardi meets with journalists at the Vatican. (Gregorio Borgia, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Vatican City - Pope Benedict XVI's former butler and another Vatican employee must stand trial for stealing and leaking confidential papers in a scandal that exposed feuds within the Church, a magistrate said on Monday.

Paolo Gabriele, who was arrested in May on suspicion of stealing secret documents from the pope's office and leaking them to journalists, is accused of "aggravated theft", a statement said.

Judge Piero Bonnet also charged Claudio Sciarpelletti, an analyst and computer programmer in the Vatican state secretariat - whose name had not been disclosed before - with complicity.

Vatican spokesperson Federico Lombardi told journalists the investigation into a "wide and complex case" was not yet over and would continue to target others believed to be implicated.

Gabriele risks up to six years in prison. The Vatican has said the trial will not take place until October at the earliest.

Lombardi said that Sciarpelletti had played a "marginal role" and could not really be considered an accomplice.

Close-knit community shocked


The 46-year-old butler was arrested during an investigation into the leak of private papal documents to the media. He was held for 53 days in a Vatican cell before being put under house arrest in July to await the judge's decision.

The Vatican said after his arrest it had found documents and copying equipment in Gabriele's home, revelations which shocked the close-knit Holy See community and saddened the 85-year-old German pontiff.

The father-of-three is alleged to have photocopied and leaked top-secret e-mails and letters, taken from the desk of Georg Gaenswein, the pope's private secretary.

Gabriele's lawyers have denied media reports that their client was part of a wider whistleblowing operation aimed at shaking up the Vatican hierarchy.

There is a suspicion that he acted sincerely but was then manipulated as part of long-standing rivalries within the secretive Vatican administration.

"We don't think we have finished our work .... The inquiry is still open with regard to other people who appear to be implicated," spokesperson Lombardi quoted prosecutor Nicola Picardi as saying on Monday.

Reprieve


Gabriele, known as Paoletto, began working for the pope in 2006 and was one of a select few with access to Benedict's private chambers.

Under Vatican laws, a reprieve from the pope could come at any moment during the investigation or trial, but religious observers say that while Benedict may offer his spiritual pardon, he is unlikely to interfere in the legal process.

The Vatican has been shaken by the scandal, which has drawn attention to divisions between senior clergymen in the Vatican and in particular growing criticism of the powerful Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone.

While the Vatican has officially reassured Bertone of its support and denied media reports of an internal power struggle, the embarrassment to the Church has been widespread and has taken a physical toll on the pontiff.

It is just the latest in a string of scandals which have plagued the Vatican in recent years, from allegations of money-laundering to clerical sex abuse.

Read more on:    roman catholic church  |  pope benedict xvi  |  vatican city  |  religion
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

The rich will pay - Mpofu

The EFF in Gauteng will focus all its energy on improving the lives of the poor, the party's premier candidate Dali Mpofu says.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Watch what happened when we blindfolded Helen Zille and asked her to eat random things
13 days to elections - news you need to know
11 Julius Malema quotes you'll never forget
DA won't get 30% - Zille
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Tuesday Century City - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Ratanga Road Southbound
    ROADWORKS - lane closure between Ocean Spirit Avenue and Century Boulevard (until mid April)
  • Tuesday Mitchells Plain - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Spine Road
    ROAD CLOSED between Weltevreden Drive and Seafarer Drive due to roadworks (until mid April)
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Mother’s Day special offers!

Spoil mom with these awesome specials that will warm her heart. Shop now!

Twisp – the smoking alternative

Buy any 2 refills for R250 and save R149. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Mother’s Day specials on appliances

Browse our range of Mother’s Day appliances to spoil and pamper mom. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

DSTV Mobile iDrifta

The iDrifta is a plug and play mobile DVB-H receiver...

From R445.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Treat yourself to something beautiful. You tend to put so much energy in making everything around you work harmoniously, and...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.