Pope Benedict XVI’s former butler has been ordered by the Vatican to stand trial over a whistle-blowing scandal that has been simmering since May. Paolo Gabriele was arrested on May 25 after leaking many confidential Vatican letters addressed to the Pope. The letters alleged widespread corruption within the Vatican.
This week, according to a Reuters report, a Vatican judge sent Gabriele to trial for the leaks. The judge, Piero Antonio Bonnet, also sent Claudio Sciarpelletti, a Vatican IT worker, to trial for helping Gabriele hold some of the leaked documents in secret. Bonnet stated that Vatican investigators are still busy hunting down other individuals involved in the leaks.
The so-called “Vatileaks” scandal began when an italian journalist named Gianluigi Nuzzi published a book that exposes corruption within the Vatican. Nuzzi cited an unnamed whistle-blower as the source of his information. The book describes collusion between the Vatican and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s government to avoid the Catholic church having to pay property tax to the EU, as well as efforts to influence the Italian media.
Gabriele confessed to stealing documents from the Vatican after his arrest in May. According to Reuters, Gabriele could face up to six years in prison if he is convicted. However, The Guardian cites a Vatican spokesperson as saying that the Pope might pardon Gabriele if he is convicted. That spokesperson also said the Vatican might still prosecute Nuzzi for publishing the book that began the scandal.
(Photo by Andreas Tille)