Monday 26 February 2018

Pontiff's secretary drawn into leaks scandal

Pope Benedict with his secretary Mgr Ganswein
Pope Benedict with his secretary Mgr Ganswein

Nick Squires in Rome

The Pope's personal secretary was drawn into the Vatican leaks scandal yesterday.

Documents, signed by Monsignor Georg Ganswein, were sent to 'La Repubbica' newspaper with a letter, which read: "Kick out of the Vatican those who are really responsible for the scandal: Mgr Ganswein and Cardinal Bertone. The truth can be found at the top of the hierarchy."

The letter accused Mgr Ganswein, one of the Pope's two personal secretaries, of being part of the plot to steal papers from the Pontiff's desk and of passing them to the media.

An earlier leak of those papers raised allegations of corruption, nepotism and incompetence against Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state.

Mgr Ganswein's closeness to the Pope, a fellow German, is believed to have caused resentment and jealousy within the Holy See.

The Pope's butler Paolo Gabriele (46) has been arrested over the scandal. His family and friends have insisted he would never have betrayed the Pontiff and was "merely a scapegoat", the anonymous letter said. "What better victim than the Pope's butler?" But Mr Gabriele is expected to be questioned by Vatican investigators today over the alleged theft of the confidential documents.

The letter writer claimed to have "hundreds" more confidential papers taken from the papal apartments and the Vatican administration.

Previously leaked confidential papers paint Cardinal Bertone in a negative light and many Vatican analysts believe he is a target for a cabal of cardinals who think he is not up to the job as the Vatican's de facto prime minister.

There is also speculation that the smear campaign is an attempt by some cardinals to strengthen their position in the run-up to the election of a new Pope, as concerns about the health of the 85-year-old pontiff grow.

Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said he expected more stolen letters to be released. "We don't expect that the documents published so far are the last, and I wouldn't be surprised if more are published in the coming days," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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