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By Deacon Keith A. Fournier

10/8/2012 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (

So, the suspense is over, the Butler really did do it. What is not at all clear is - why he did so?

" In the name of His Holiness Benedict XVI, gloriously reigning, the tribunal invoking the Holy Trinity pronounces the following sentence..." The sentence was Guilty! The Pope's Butler did it. He took the documents. Now, Why did he do it?

Article Highlights

By Deacon Keith A. Fournier

Catholic Online (

10/8/2012 (1 year ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Butler, VatiLeaks, Vatican, documents, Press, Paolo Gabriele, Pope Benedict XVI, Judge Giuseppe Dalla Torre, Deacon Keith Fournier

VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - In the legal trial now routinely referred to as "Vati-leaks" Paolo Gabriele was found guilty on Saturday morning, October 6, 2012 in a Vatican City Court.

Three Judges were empanelled as the tribunal to consider the evidence which had been submitted by the Prosecution and the Defense after a multi-day trial. The trial, evidence, testimony and endless speculation as to what was stolen - and why - has drawn the insatiable attention of an international Press. Judge Giuseppe Dalla Torre read the verdict, " In the name of His Holiness Benedict XVI, gloriously reigning, the tribunal invoking the Holy Trinity pronounces the following sentence..."

The sentence was Guilty! The Butler did it. He took the documents.

Paolo Gabriele will be allowed to serve the sentence in his Vatican City Apartment where he lives with his wife and three children. His crime was the theft of Vatican documents, including some of the Pope's personal and private papers and notes, many of which were supposed to have been destroyed.

The Butler maintained all along that he did not actually "steal" the documents but photocopied them, allegedly out of a concern for the Church. Even before the Verdict was announced, he told the Court, "What I feel strongly inside me, is the conviction of having acted out of exclusive and visceral love for Jesus' church, and for his visible leader. I repeat, I don't feel like a thief."   

So, the suspense is over, the Butler really did do it. What is not at all clear is - why he did so?

It is probable that the Butler will receive a pardon from the Pope who was both the victim, and - because the crime occurred in Vatican City - the authority behind the Prosecution. Pope Benedict XVI has shown compassion toward him throughout this unusual matter.  In fact, the spokesmen for the Vatican, Father Federico Lombardi said to the Press who had gathered outside of the Courtroom: "Now that we have a sentence, the pope will evaluate whether to pardon him. There is a concrete and real possibility of his forgiveness, but it will up to him to decide if and when."

Speculation has been endless during this entire case. It has generated international interest, fueled conspiracy theories and a generated a myriad of strange speculations and allegations. That is to be expected given the nature of the offense and the contents of the documents.Among them, documents from pope benedict's private desk!  The clearest daily accounts and most accurate details of  the "blow by blow" proceedings during the entire Trial was offered by "The Moynihan Report: Letters on the Church and World Affairs".

The publication is written and edited by Robert Moynihan, an excellent journalist and faithful Catholic Layman and journalist who has no agenda or theory to promote. His coverage can be found here.  For our readers interested in the "cloak and dagger" details of this odd story, here is just an excerpt from Robert Moynihan's compelling multi - installment account. This is taken from his coverage of Wednesday's Court Proceedings:

"Today the Vatican police testified about what they found when they raided Paolo Gabriele's apartment on May 23. What did they find? Among other things, papers from the Pope's private desk marked, in German, "destroy." In other words, Pope Benedict, or his secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, had asked that these sensitive papers be destroyed."

"Obviously, these documents were not destroyed - Gabriele, evidently, took them and preserved them in his home."

"Four Vatican policemen - Luca Cintia, Stefano De Santis, Silvano Carli and Luca Bassetti - were the only witnesses to give testimony today in the ongoing "Vatileaks" trial. They spoke about finding these documents marked "destroy," and about everything else they found the night they raided Gabriele's apartment inside Vatican City where he lived with his wife and three children. One piece of evidence they provided was startling: that there was a lot of computer hardware found in Gabriele's apartment:

- *one desktop computer
- *two or three laptops"
- "numerous USB keys" (small digital memory "pens," devices which store data on "pen" or "key" the size of a finger; the word "numerous" is italicized because we do not know how many were found, perhaps a dozen or so, perhaps even more.);
- two hard disks;
- various memory cards;
- a Playstation, and an iPad.

"Now, what data (say, photographs, possibly even of the Pope? or recordings, possibly of the Pope's private conversations?) was saved on all of this hardware? We do not know. In fact, one of the policemen who testified today seemed to suggest that the data on this hardware, the information is stored on these computers, hard drives and memory cards, has not yet even been catalogued by the Vatican police."

"It's going to be interesting," said De Santis, referring to studying the data stored on these devices - in the future tense. This would seem to mean that the thorough investigation of these memory chips and hard drives has not yet occurred. And this seems peculiar, for here we have a man who had access to literally everything in the Pope's private apartment, and we know that he gave some of his material to Gianluigi Nuzzi for publication in the book His Holiness: The Secret Papers of Benedict XVI, but we do not know whether he shared his information with anyone else. Nor do we know if he worked for anyone else. Apparently, the Vatican police don't know either - four months after collecting all these computer devices.

"A "secret agent"?

"The Vatican police confirmed what we reported yesterday: that Gabriele's archive seemed like something that would be kept by a "secret agent" - by a spy. (Remember, this was the Pope's butler, a man who was physically next to Pope Benedict XVI for hours every day for the past six years.)"


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