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Vatican police report finding thousands of documents at Gabriele’s home

Catholic World News - October 04, 2012

Vatican police reported finding thousands of documents and press clippings in the home of Paolo Gabriele as the trial of the former papal valet continued.

Silvano Carli, a Vatican police inspector, said that a search of Gabriele’s home yielded enough documents to fill 82 boxes. Most of these documents were clipped newspaper stories on topics including Church scandals, Freemasonry, and religious sects. However, Carli said, there were also about 1,000 confidential Vatican documents, including some that were marked with instructions, in the handwriting of Pope Benedict XVI, that copies of the documents should be destroyed. It was “a total violation of the privacy of the papal family,” remarked another police official.

Gabriele is on trial for stealing the documents from the papal apartments. He has admitted that he took the papers, but says that he was doing so to protect the Pontiff from schemes by Vatican insiders. Many of the documents were eventually published in a book, Sua Santita, which triggered an intensive Vatican investigation to detect the source of the leaks. Gabriele has said that he acted alone. The police testimony concluded the Vatican tribunal’s hearing of witnesses in the Gabriele case. The tribunal will meet again on Saturday to hear closing arguments from prosecution and defense.

In what may have been a preview of defense strategy, Gabriele’s lawyer closely questioned police officials as to whether they had participated in a search of Gabriele’s apartment at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo. The defense may argue that any such search was illicit, since Vatican police are required to obtain permission from Italian civil authorities for any searches conducted outside the physical limits of Vatican City.

In a related development, Ingrid Stampa, the longtime aide to Pope Benedict, angrily denied suggestions that she had been involved in a conspiracy with Gabriele. Gabriele had testified that he spoke with Stampa, among others, about his concerns regarding Vatican policies. Stampa said that it is “slanderous” to suggest that she encouraged the former valet to steal confidential documents.

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