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Pope's valet the source of leaked documents?

May 25, 2012

Vatican police have arrested the Pope's valet, reporting that he was discovered in possession of confidential documents, and are holding him for questioning.

The director of the Vatican press office, Father Federico Lombardi, told reporters on May 25 that an investigation into a recent series of leaks had led the Vatican gendarmerie to a particular individual. The suspect was illegally holding confidential documents, he said. Although he did not identify the suspect, Vatican sources later confirmed reports that it was Paolo Gabriele, who has served as the Pope's valet for the past 6 years.

As a member of the pontifical household, Gabriele is one of the few people who would have access to confidential documents that pass across the Pope's desk. However, Vatican insiders have been convinced that the "Vatileaks" scandal has been orchestrated by some more senior official, as part of a struggle for power within the Vatican. The arrest of the valet--a layman with no particular influence--immediately gave rise to suspicions that Gabriele might be working on behalf of someone else, and might serve as a scapegoat to defect attention from more powerful prelates.

Earlier this week the Vatican had warned that the public release of confidential documents was a criminal activity. Pope Benedict had set up a special commission, composed of 3 senior cardinals, to investigate a succession of embarrassing leaks. The May 25 arrest came as a result of that commission's work, Father Lombardi said.


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Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: happyseaotter8027 - Jul. 20, 2012 10:25 PM ET USA

    The butler did it? It's no wonder he is called a "valet." Let's hope that this investigation proves fruitful and that any Vatican officials involved are identified; also, that steps are taken to ensure that this does not happen again.

  • Posted by: Anselm - May. 25, 2012 9:18 PM ET USA

    I cannot resist: It appears that the butler did it. In the drawing room. WIth a pen.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - May. 25, 2012 8:56 PM ET USA

    And indeed, how many others with him?

  • Posted by: BobJ70777069 - May. 25, 2012 5:45 PM ET USA

    AaaaHaaa! Once again, the butler did it.