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 …


  1. mike/ says

    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…

  2. Mikey says


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

  3. simon says

    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.

  4. dewayneinsd says

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

  5. Snownova says

    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.

  6. Randy says

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

  7. Leroy Laflamme says

    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?

  8. says

    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.

  9. Matt says

    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.

  10. Hue-Man says

    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.

  11. Pedro says

    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.

  12. says

    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.

  13. james says

    @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!

  14. TEACHER"S PET says

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

  15. Ted B. (Charging Rhino) says

    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

  16. says

    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.

  17. Pete N SFO says

    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)

  18. Dave says

    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.

  19. jamal49 says

    Well, Ms. Prada Shoes herself certainly got her panties in an uproar. I guess The Popette can’t handle the truth. Now we know who the Mafia has modeled itself after: The Catholic Church.

    Opus Dei is a thug criminal enterprise and has been for decades. One shudders to think how many people have been “silenced” by The Vatican.

    May the Truth finally be told.

  20. Brandon K. Thorp says


    The book has yet to be translated into English. I’m sure it will be.

    – BKT

  21. if the shoe fits says

    Is anyone surprised?

    BTW, Opus Dei is Latin for “the work of God.” And, if I remember correctly, it is the name St. Augustine gave to his bastard child.

  22. Jerry6 says

    Does the Pope still have the Rack, and the other instruments of torture in the basement?

  23. Jose Escriva says

    This is all quite fascinating. I love Sant’ Apollinare, but I’ve never managed to get inside.

    It’s not the Opus Dei headquarters. Their seminary, Santa Croce (affectionately known as the Crotch) is next to it.

    Opus Dei’s headquarters are up north of Piazza del Populo in the tony Parioli neighborhood on Bruno Buozzi.

  24. Jose Escriva says

    Augustine had a child out of wedlock named Adeodatus (God-given). He wrote dialogues early in his life with the boy Adeodatus as an interlocutor (De Magistro, On the Teacher, being the best known).

    Adeodatus died at about 11 or 12, and Augustine was torn up about it.