The Vatileaks: Pope's Butler Arrested, Bank President Dismissed, and Exposé Book Released

Tue, 06/05/2012 - 05:03

Vatican City was rocked by three compromising events last week, as documents exposing Vatican infighting and corruption were released, Pope Benedict XVI’s personal butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested for stealing confidential information, and the president of the Vatican bank left after a no confidence vote.
Last month, Cardinal Julian Herranz received a pontifical mandate to uncover the leaks responsible for His Holiness: The Secret Papers of Benedict XVI by investigative journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi. The Vatican has not denied the authenticity of the documents, but called the book “criminal”.
A large number—which remains unquantified by the Vatican—of letters handwritten by the Pope and confidential internal memorandums uncovered in Gabriele’s home led to his arrest for aggravated theft. His lawyers have indicated that he may name the other informants. He may face 30 years in prison if convicted.
Gabriele’s arrest came shortly after Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, president of the Vatican bank, was dismissed after a no confidence vote by the external board of financial advisors. His Holiness implicates that the Vatican awarded inflated contracts to Italian businesses, like a nativity scene for €550,000 that should have cost half that. In one letter, Tedeschi tries to avoid an investigation of the origin of 23 million euros in a Vatican account.
Vatican insiders speculate the former Secretary of State, Angelo Sodano, is trying to sideline current secretary Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and replace him before the next Pope is chosen, as the Secretary influences the selection of the Pope. Bertone brought Tedeschi from Spain's Banco Santander to run the Vatican bank in 2009.
Father Federico Lombardi, the spokesperson for the investigation into the leaks, has denied that any cardinals are involved. "There is not a single word in the book against the pontiff. The Vatican's workings are slow but inexorable", the author of His Holiness told Reuters.