Michael Kelly: It's not Pope's butler who's on trial -- public's trust in church is really at stake
The Pope's private correspondence published in daily newspapers. A committee of octogenarian cardinals appointed to investigate the source of the leaks. A member of the Pontiff's innermost circle discovered with secret documents in his grace-and-favour apartment behind the walls of Vatican City state.
If Dan Brown, author of 'The Da Vinci Code', proposed such a scenario it would surely be ridiculed as far-fetched. But, that is exactly the series of events that will be laid before a Vatican court this morning, meeting for the first time in over a decade.
The case of Paolo Gabriele, Pope Benedict's butler, is set to shed light on alleged financial corruption and mismanagement at the heart of the Holy See. As one of only a handful of people with the key to the elevator that leads directly to Benedict XVI's private apartment, Mr Gabriele had virtually unrivalled access. He made it his business to see -- and make copies of -- confidential documents crossing the Pope's desk. As the man who served the Pontiff's meals, he was also on the fringes of many discreet dinners when senior Vatican officials discussed their concerns with the 85-year-old German Pontiff.