Peter Stanford: Does the Vatileaks scandal prove that there is something rotten in the court of Pope Benedict?
A BRITISH diplomat, sent as Her Majesty’s representative to the Holy See, once characterised the Vatican as being like a palace, floating adrift from the rest of the world.
It is an image that has surfaced again this week with the extraordinary spectacle of the “Vatileaks” scandal, in which Pope Benedict XVI’s butler has been accused of passing stolen documents to the Italian press at the behest of senior clerics who want to discredit their rivals at the papal court.
Paolo Gabriele, a 46-year-old valet who has worked for Benedict since 2006, is being held in custody in “secure rooms” within the Vatican, the world’s smallest sovereign state at just 108 acres. As a Vatican citizen, one of only 600, he faces being dealt with by its own justice system rather than the courts in Rome, which surrounds this enclave.