Catholic Church | Pope Benedict | Religion | Vatican

Vatican Leak Is Plugged; Papal Tattle-Tale In Confinement

SadpopeOne week ago, Italian journalist and TV star Gianluigi Nuzzi released a book called His Holiness: The Secret Papers of Pope Benedict XVI, which became an instant-best seller in Italy's bookstors and seriously angered the Holy See. It was a tell-all, delivering the goods on Catholic fiscal impropriety, the covering up of Catholic fiscal impropriety, priestly boyfriends, and the headaches of dealing with the endless rolling scandal that is the American Catholic Church. Notably, the Vatican hasn't denied the book's authenticity, though it does claim its publication was illegal.

Nuzzi had been releasing his Catholic dirt and dribs and drabs for a year on his television show, The Untouchables, causing a rising tide of panic in the Vatican. And the information unearthed got weirder and uglier with every episode. By May, his spelunking in the oubliettes of Catholic rumor and secrecy had caused the Italian police to exhume the body of a feared mobster who'd been (for some uncertain reason) buried in the Holy See, right next to the Opus Dei HQ. In the mobster's tomb, police hoped to find the remains of a 15-year-old named Emanuela Orlandi who went missing three decades ago, perhaps because her dad had some dirt on a Cardinal. (Many bodies were found in the tomb; DNA testing ought to reveal whose they are or aen't sometime soon.)

Well -- when His Holiness came out, His Holiness decided he wasn't going to stand for Nuzzi's prying any longer. He bid three of his toughest Opus Dei goons to stop all Vatican leaks immediately. Which they did. The presumed leaker has been identified. He was Pope's butler and personal attendant, Paolo Gabriele.

From CNN:

Paolo Gabriele, 46, was arrested Wednesday for illegal possession of confidential documents, found in his apartment in Vatican territory, the Vatican said in a statement Saturday.

Gabriele, who has worked as the papal butler since 2006, is one of only a handful of people with access to the pontiff's private desk.

His job included handing out rosaries to dignitaries and riding in the front seat of the "Popemobile," a vehicle used for public papal appearances, as seen in many photographs showing Gabriele with the pope.

Elsewhere in the story appears maybe the most frightening line of prose I've read this week:

Gabriele is being held in a special cell within the Vatican City, a walled enclave within Rome ...

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  1. but the Italian papers are reporting that there is one problem: the man only worked in the papal residency as a butler and had no contact where these papers were kept.

    they are saying he is a 'capro espiatorio" - scapegoat...

    Posted by: mike/ | May 26, 2012 5:31:00 PM

  2. Don't mess with Emperor Palpatine.

    Posted by: John in Houston | May 26, 2012 5:38:29 PM

  3. *authenticity

    Seriously, is there not a spell checker with your blog hosting package? It's been particularly bad today...

    Posted by: Mikey | May 26, 2012 5:41:55 PM

  4. Is there going to be a trial in Vatican? Do they have a civil court or religious court? The pope is a dictator in every sense and yet no country dares to criticize him. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. No one should be surprised that "fiscal impropriety" is rampant in that city.

    Posted by: simon | May 26, 2012 5:43:25 PM

  5. hmm wonder if Herr Ratzinger will be employing those long ago used Hitler Youth lessons in torture?

    Posted by: dewayneinsd | May 26, 2012 5:48:57 PM

  6. That guy is so dead.

    Posted by: Polyboy | May 26, 2012 5:49:19 PM

  7. You'd think confession would lead to absolution and all would be forgiven...

    Posted by: BobN | May 26, 2012 6:03:35 PM

  8. Clearly this is just the beginning. More leaks to come and more corpses to be exhumed.

    Film at 11.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 26, 2012 6:14:15 PM

  9. You'd think if his holiness was sooo holy he wouldn't have anything to hide...

    But then again we all know the Catholic church has plenty to hide, and that's before you get the the illuminati/Da vinci code/freemasons conspiracy theorists.

    Posted by: Snownova | May 26, 2012 6:17:47 PM

  10. The episodes of this show are on the station's YouTube account, but no English subtitles. :(

    Posted by: Randy | May 26, 2012 6:19:06 PM

  11. Most titillating story on Towleroad in ages. Priestly affairs, fiscal shennannigans, exhumed bodies - that's the Catholic church I know and love! And a refreshing respite from the never ending barrage of vitriol being spewed by every gay hating American politician and his wife. And professional sportsman.

    Oh, and MIKEY - who died and made you God? A couple of innocent typos, per pieta!Does "...spelunking in the oubliettes of Catholic rumor and secrecy ..." count for nothing?

    Posted by: Leroy Laflamme | May 26, 2012 6:30:13 PM

  12. Nah, the most chilling comment is about the bodies in the grave near Opus Dei Headquarters.

    Integrity, spirituality, piety......are among those bodies found dismembered.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | May 26, 2012 6:36:16 PM

  13. Does anyone know if this book is available in English? I'd love to buy copies as gifts for my mom and grandma. Amazon doesn't seem to carry it.

    Posted by: Matt | May 26, 2012 7:09:07 PM

  14. Can't resist to point out the obvious reference: "Fish rot from the head" We can now expect to find bankers and butlers hanging on ropes from bridges.

    Posted by: Hue-Man | May 26, 2012 7:43:34 PM

  15. As a Catholic this saddens, I remember the day the Papacy of Benedict was announced...I was very disappointed...I think he's been a horrible Pope. But he is still the Holy Father, I may not like him as a man, but I must respect him as the Holy Father. Still, I'll hold onto the hope that the next Pope will be better.

    Posted by: Pedro | May 26, 2012 8:05:50 PM

  16. This is quite interesting, especially considering that an arrest and detainment is being held within Vatican City. I am unsure of how the Tribunal-judge based system (adopted from the Italian justice system) would apply here. As a part of the treaty between the Vatican and Italy for Vatican independence and the foundation of the Vatican as a City-State, I believe they are hard-bound to a maximum of six months incarceration and are treaty bound to hand over more serious criminals for Italian persecution.

    This action does technically constitute espionage or high treason, something well beyond the Vatican's ability to persecute if I am not mistaken.

    Posted by: RJS | May 26, 2012 8:23:52 PM

  17. @RJS. In my estimation, the Vatican and the Catholic church have the capacity to persecute any one they choose.

    I know you meant "prosecute," but it's a great slip of the keyboard!

    Posted by: james | May 26, 2012 8:50:46 PM

  18. Let me guess: They're probing... er... investigating him in the rectory?

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | May 26, 2012 9:10:50 PM

  19. Oh Mikey and his pals have nothing better to do than complain and whine whenever there is a fill-in. It's getting old.

    Posted by: TEACHER"S PET | May 27, 2012 12:24:24 AM

  20. he Inquistion, what a show
    The Inquistion, here we go
    "We know you're wishing,
    That we'd go away,
    But the Inquistion's here and it's here to -

    - Hey, Torquemada, whaddaya say?
    I just got back from the auto-da-fé.
    Auto-da-fé, what's an auto-da-fé?
    It's what you oughtn't to do but you do anyway

    Posted by: Ted B. (Charging Rhino) | May 27, 2012 12:45:44 AM

  21. Ana, you're correct. I type quickly and didn't proof read :-)

    Of course, the Vatican has no jurisdiction outside of Vatican City in the way of prosecution. Fortunately enough, there are checks in place to ensure that they don't prosecute people on higher crimes. Knowing Pope Bennie, I am very grateful that the Vatican must follow Italian law despite being an independent city-state.

    Posted by: RJS | May 27, 2012 1:19:59 AM


    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 27, 2012 9:09:10 AM

  23. What a laugh...

    A bunch of crooks are going to hang all of this on the bulter?

    C'mon... even the Berlusconi-owned press in Italy, can't be buying that.

    (And the typo guy... Do you feel relevant now, correcting typos on the internet? Srsly, get a life)

    Posted by: Pete N SFO | May 27, 2012 9:53:29 AM

  24. 'the butler did it!'--alzo sprach der hitlerjugende papa.

    Posted by: littlebadwolf | May 27, 2012 11:22:07 AM

  25. Can anybody help me buy a copy of the book, HIS HOLINESS: THE SECRET PAPERS OF POPE BENEDICT XVI. It seems they are blocking us in America from being able to buy this book.

    Posted by: Dave | May 27, 2012 12:06:54 PM

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