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1,000 important documents found in Pope's former butler possession

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 3rd, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

According to investigators, a search of the apartments of the pope's former butler, Paolo Gabriele, revealed hundreds of official Vatican documents, and "more than a 1,000, both original and photocopies, were of interest." Officer Silvano Carli testified that among them were original papers signed by Pope Benedict XVI, some of them stamped with an order for destruction.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Gabriele, accused in the theft of official Vatican documents, the former butler declared himself innocent this week of a charge of aggravated theft in connection with leaked documents, He did express regret at abusing the pope's trust.

Police say they found many newspaper clippings and printouts from Internet searches, according to a briefing from the small pool of journalists allowed to attend the trial in a Vatican courthouse. Much of the material had a religious or spiritual theme, touching on Buddhism, Christianity, Catholicism and yoga, while other articles concerned Freemasonry.

Four officers said it had taken them almost eight hours to search through the papers accumulated by Gabriele. They had found "important" documents mixed in with irrelevant material, they said as if it "had been hidden."

A gold nugget belonging to the pope and a check made out to the pontiff were also discovered in a shoebox.

Investigators did not give "much weight" to the discovery of the gold nugget and signed check because they "knew that it was Gabriele's job to handle the gifts the pope received during his trips."

Computers, an iPad, a hard drive and USB drives were seized in the raid.

Eighty-two boxes of evidence were collected from Gabriele's apartments in Vatican City and Castel Gondolfo, a small town near Rome.

Gabriele had previously admitted to taking hundreds of secret papers from the pope's personal apartment and passing them along to an Italian journalist.

The trial is expected to wrap up on Saturday, when the prosecutor and defense lawyer are due to give their closing statements and rebuttals.

Gabriele has the right to speak again before the three lay judges retire to consider their verdict, which could come the same day.

"I feel guilty of having betrayed the trust that the Holy Father gave me," Gabriele has previously said.

Gabriele insists that he made no personal gain from collecting the documents and that he had no accomplices. He said he wanted to expose the "disconcerting atmosphere" within the Vatican.

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