Monday, September 03, 2012
Gianluigi Nuzzi, author of Vatileaks-book "His Holiness. The secret letters from the desk of Pope Benedict XVI" is interviewed about the alleged plot against the Pope, prison cells and the machinations of the Vatican Bank.
Mr. Nuzzi, in recent times, the Pope was amazingly happy to start legal proceedings. Up until last week, he was suing the satirical magazine "Titanic". What are you accused of?
Nothing, because I have published documents whose authenticity is not disputed by anyone. They are like sandpaper, because the content is embarrassing and painful. But in Italy that is just as legal as distributing photocopies.
As one of your sources, the Vatican has revealed the former valet of the Pope, Paolo Gabriele. Is the result of the investigations true?
I will not breathe a word about my informants. But as Paolo Gabriele has designated myself as a recipient of documents - more specifically - photocopies of documents – this releases me at least partly from the absolute protection of sources.
Generally, there are two levels of interest. First, the question: Who are Nuzzis sources?
On the other hand the question: Why does a man like Gabriele - a devout Catholic, an absolute "Papist" who worshiped the Holy Father, who has accompanied him for years like a shadow – decide on such actions?
So, why? The Vatican speaks of a disturbed personality.
In southern Italy in the 1960s, there were women, who got pregnant out of wedlock who were put onto the psychiatric ward. Only can only badly solve problems with psychiatric reports. So, I the explanation of "crazy" leaves me quite perplexed. You mean about the Pope has surrounded himself with a weirdo for years, and nobody has noticed?
Article then gives short bios of the following
Paolo Gabriele, 46... counted as a servant of the Pope to his "inner family circle." The father of three had access to all the private apartments of the head of the church . "Paoletto" already served John Paul II and was widely appreciated. He is accused of aggravated burglary of highly classified documents and sits in jail- according to his lawyer he wants to cooperate with investigators.
Gianluigi Nuzzi, 43
Tarcisio Bertone, 77
Federico Lombardi, 69
Piero Antonio Bonnet, 68
Investigating magistrate …..As well as the Papal butler, up to 20 further people could be involved in the leaking and publication of confidential documents. Further arrests thus are not ruled out.
Does it weigh you down as a writer, that one of your informants has migrated under lock and key?
I note with surprise that the man has been detained for months. Such a hardness in a state where everything else that always happens is just symbolic! Was that necessary? Commensurat with the Rule of law? Would it be possible in Germany for an offence such as theft?
Consider it! But beyond these procedural issues, there was perhaps a moral duty to publish these documents.
With the result of being arrested? Would Paolo Gabriele share this view?
Excuse me, we are all of legal age. Gabriele has not given me these papers to make paper planes out of them. I asked him how he feels. He told me that he was completely at peace with himself, and he had acted in full awareness of the possible consequences, because he considered it his duty as a believer.
Is there a conspiracy in the Vatican?
I ask you! Against the Pope? Against his Cardinal Secretary of State? Against the goodie-two-shoes in the Vatican Bank? The hodgepodge of your documents does not give a clear picture, that's the problem.
Exactly! If the documents can be seen but no clear addressee, against whom they are addressed, this also means: There is no conspiracy and no conspirators, but only a few brave Catholics who have taken it for less serious that all these documents come to public light than to conceal hypocrisies and scandalous activities
For what purpose?
My grandmother always said, "Carta canta" – paper chatters away. These documents speak of how far the Vatican has removed from the church itself. And suffer from my informants.
That falls back ultimately on the Pope, who your informant supposedly wanted to help.
You will not find in my book anything that is directed against the Holy Father.
The whole book is directed against him. He appears as helpless, powerless. He has so little grip on his business that confidential documents in cartloads could be taken from his desk, only to end up with you. So, he who has such helpers, needs no more opponents.
I understand your point of view. But I'm not doing these things on my own. The spokesman of the Pope has for my revelations coined the term "Vatileaks". It is an attempt to put my book on a par with WikiLeaks. An inadequate attempt, I think. Because unlike Wikileaks, you see with me no military secrets, and anything that might compromise the security of a nation. But you know how it is in the Vatican and what weaknesses there are – as extracts, I might add. Because the documents show only a part of the reality.
Since their release, it has become lonely around the Pope. Even his former private secretary and his former female secretary belong to the traitors - out of jealousy.
Of course, all these rumors do the Holy Father no good. But we maintain once again: Apart from Paolo Gabriele no-one is being investigated. If all the alleged traitors around the Pope are identified, it is a bad game to weaken people who have nothing to do with my book. What is that for a story? Only the valet, no, also the ex-private secretary and ex-female secretary - they all should have together gone crazy and have started to work against the Pope? Absurd!
But how was it then? But were there high-ranking Vatican officials, members of the College of Cardinals even at work?
You still dig for the sources, instead if considering he contents! Do you know what Paolo Gabriele told me in his first and only interview that will come out soon? "If the Vatican had investigated the scandals with the same zeal as the search for their leakers, then that would have been very commendable." Anyway, one thing I can still tell you this: No Cardinal has made a contribution to my book.
Again and again, your book goes into the shady finances of the Vatican. Is this, in your view of the crucial flaw?
That the Vatican bank was involved at least until the end of the 80s in Mafia business and money laundering, has been disclosed in the highest courts. The next 20 years are, to a large extent, still in a semi-darkness. The Vatican has indeed only introduced the offence of money launderin in 2010. A short time later, the leading bankers of the Vatican appeared on a list of Italian justices of those to be investigated for money laundering. One of them has now been sacked. Let's see who succeeds him. Should it be a German, of which there is some murmur in the Vatican, it is likely to be interpreted as a sign of the strength of the pope and his secretary, Georg Gänswein.
Their publications have anything else changed in the Vatican?
One thing for sure: jail cells, which had previously been used as storage rooms have been renovated and brought back to their original purpose.
But joking aside, I do think that the effort has grown for greater transparency. A friend from the Vatican told me: Three-quarters of the people here understand the spirit of your book, even if they are of course not allowed to say it out loud. The Archbishop of Paris even said that the Vatican is at a turning point. Interesting, is it not?
What do you say about the documents on the relationship between the German Pope and Germany?
The whole affair of the Holocaust denier Richard Williamson has very much irritated the Pope. There was friction with the Apostolic Nuncio, and there was actually an expectation that the German cardinals should clearly position themselves against the criticism of the Pope from German Chancellor Angela Merkel . But what came of the matter?
It just fizzled out like the attempt of the Pope to clean up the Welt Verlag who famously had erotic book titles on offer. Now to the shares of the dioceses are probably transferred to a foundation under ecclesiastical control. That's not the solution which the Pope sought, according to the documents published by me! This is at most - to stay in the field of eroticism - a fig leaf.