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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

How the Pope's butler was caught

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There is a confidential document, including those stolen in the Holy See, which speaks more than others. And it nailed the former aide to House of the Pope, Paulo Gabriele, as the suspicion of being a "mole". Not the only document nor perhaps the most substantial. But it ensured that Father Georg Gänswein, the personal secretary of Pope Benedict XVI, identified the individual through the pages of the book by journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi. And a few hours before the police arrest Gabriele, there was an interview between the two. From the dramatic events.

Let's step back, to Tuesday, May 22. Four days before Nuzzi released his book. Among the papers published there was one that had attracted the attention of Father Georg. This is the budget document of Joseph Ratzinger Vatican Foundation. A recent piece of paper, perhaps dating back to March, which certifies a budget surplus in 2012 of one million euros. The president of the Foundation, Monsignor Giuseppe Scotti sent it directly to the Pope for his approval. This is not the most compromising of the paper. But it has a peculiarity. It had to be returned after the Papal signature, without going directly to the Foundation, in contrast to other documents which went into the archives of the Secretariat of State. Whoever had stolen it to forward it to the journalist, then, had either taken it from the Foundation (hypothesis immediately rejected) or taken it directly from the desk of Father Georg.

The Vatican Gendarmerie commanded by Domenico Giani was immediately informed of this fact. One detail that has in fact shifted the focus from the offices of the Secretary of State, from which it was thought initially that the leaks came to the inner circle of assistants of Joseph Ratzinger. But why Paulo Gabriele, among the twenty-four members of the pontifical family that shares those rooms? What told against him is a message that arrived six months earlier and then takes shape. A voice that indicated the forty year old Roman was too close to people outside the Church. Those who meet Gabriel in those hours before the arrest describes him as quiet. He was unaware of the clouds gathering over his head.

Then on Tuesday evening, Father Georg called him to talk. A highly confidential conversation, that this newspaper is able to reconstruct. The Secretary of Ratzinger wants to know if he is the author of the leak and whether he has any contacts outside the Holy See. He is offered the opportunity to give himself up but "Paoletto" said that he had nothing to confess. The rest is the record of an arrest. In the afternoon of Wednesday, May 23 Giani's men search the house in Via di Porta Angelica, where Gabriel lives with his wife and three children. They take four chests of documents, the computer and some books. Towards evening, they take him to the cell of the police station and question him. And from there, he has not moved.
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