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A look back at the 'first' Vatileaks case

2015-11-03

It seems like the Vatican is facing yet another case of 'Vatileaks' with confidential documents  leaked to the press. It's a case that has a lot of similarities to what happened under the pontificate of Benedict XVI. 

It was back in January 2012, when the current Vatican ambassador to the U.S, Carlo María Viganó, denounced the corruption and ill management of the Vatican. 

That document and others were leaked to the Italian press, which printed that and other confidential documents. 

To find out who or what department was leaking the documents, in April, Benedict XVI assigned three cardinals to investigate the source of the leaks. 

Shortly there after, Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi published a book titled 'Sua Santita' or Your Holiness, with more than 100 confidential documents of Benedict XVI. Some of the documents were never meant to leave the papal apartments, which actually made it easier to find the culprits. The main suspect was Benedict XVI's butler, Paolo Gabriele. Inside his home, police found hundreds of confidential documents 

FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI
Vatican Spokesman
"For right now he's being held, pending the first interrogation. I wouldn't be surprised if afterwards, the lawyers made a presentation about it. As for how the judge will proceed after, we don't know.”


Amid all the confusion, both in the international press and in the Vatican Curia, the Pope had this to say: 

BENEDICT XVI
May 30, 2012
"Some entirely gratuitous rumors have multiplied, amplified by some media, which went well beyond the facts, offering a picture of the Holy See that does not correspond to reality. I would like therefore to reiterate my confidence and my encouragement to my staff.”

The Papal butler, Paolo Gabriele, spent two months in one of the Vatican's three jail cells. Once he was under house arrest, he wrote to Benedict XVI asking for a pardon, adding that he had acted alone without accomplices. 

His Vatican trial was watched worldwide. 


FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI
Vatican Spokesman
"The butler said he had no economic interest in leaking the documents. He said he was motivated by a feeling of personal distress. He said he was guilty of betraying the Pope and the trust the Pope had in him.”

Four days later, the Vatican tribunal issued its sentence. 

"The court declares, Paolo Gabriele, guilty, who abusing the confidence given to him and derived from his professional responsibilities, stole items that because of this relationship, were left unattended due to the confidence entrusted in him.”

The butler was sentenced to 18 months in prison, accused of aggravated theft of confidential documents. 
In December, just before Christmas, the Pope pardoned him and gave him new housing and a new job in a Vatican hospital. 


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