Alessandro Bianchi / Reuters file
Paolo Gabriele, Pope Benedict XVI's butler, is accused of leaking documents alleging Vatican corruption, but new documents published Sunday— after his arrest last month — suggest he may be a scapegoat.
Pope Benedict XVI's butler, who is under arrest for allegedly leaking confidential Vatican documents, is just a scapegoat, according to the source of new secret documents published Sunday by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
The butler, Paolo Gabriele, 45, remains in a Vatican jail cell on charges of aggravated theft for possessing confidential correspondence. Publication of the new documents Sunday — which La Repubblica said it had received from an unknown person after Gabriele's arrest on May 25 — would strongly indicate that Gabriele wasn't the only person with access to the secret correspondence of the Roman Catholic Church.
The documents lay bare the political machinations among cardinals posted to the Vatican, suggesting an administration riven by infighting over which Benedict, 85, has — or chooses to exercise — little authority.
In a letter accompanying the three new documents, the shadowy provider calls Gabriele "the usual scapegoat" and says his or her intention is to "drive out the real culprits from the Vatican," whom the letter identifies as Msgr. Georg Gaenswein, Benedict's personal secretary, and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, his secretary of state.
The source warns that the new papers are just "three of the hundreds of documents in our possession" that could be damaging to the Vatican.
The documents published Sunday include two written on Gaenswein's personal letterhead. The text, however, had been whited out — a step the source said he or she had taken to protect the pope. In the accompanying cover letter, the source says the documents prove that Benedict is being served by an "inept staff."
Gaenswein has greatly increased his influence in the Vatican in recent years, according to La Republicca, and is one of the pope's closest confidants. The letters, if authenticated, could suggest that even the most sensitive Vatican documents have been compromised.
The third document is a letter to Bertone from Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, an American who is head of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura — in essence, the Vatican's chief justice.
It is marked "highly confidential" and registers Burke's dismay that Benedict had approved the liturgy of a controversial lay group known as the NeoCatechumenal Way, which its critics contend violates the prescribed protocol for the Catholic Mass.
"I believe that approval of such liturgical innovations ... does not seem consistent with the liturgical teachings of the Pope," Burke wrote.
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