Saturday 24 February 2018

Vatileaks: Pope's butler to remain in custody

Nick Squires in Rome

THE Pope's butler, accused of stealing confidential Vatican documents, will remain in custody for at least another 10 days as investigations continue into his role in the murky affair.

The Holy See had been widely expected to release Paolo Gabriele to house arrest at his apartment in the Vatican because he had been held for 50 days, the maximum time allowable under an initial detention order.

But under Vatican law the order can be extended for another 50 days and Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said he would remain in detention for another 10 days as inquiries continue into a scandal that has shone a spotlight on dark machinations at the highest levels of the Catholic Church hierarchy.

Piero Antonio Bonnet, the Vatican judge investigating the affair, "still needs to collect some statements," said Father Lombardi.

The butler, who the Vatican has said is co-operating fully with the inquiry, will be detained "for about another 10 days", he added.

Mr Gabriele, who attended the 85-year-old Benedict XVI in his personal apartments and often rode with him in his 'Popemobile', was arrested on May 23 after a cache of stolen documents was found in the apartment he shares with his wife and children.

He has been accused of stealing the letters and memos from the pontiff's apartments, although it is widely believed that he was not acting alone, and could even be a scapegoat in a much broader conspiracy.

Motive

No obvious motive has emerged for why he would risk his home, his pension and his position as a trusted member of the Pope's inner circle by stealing the papers.

The documents, which were leaked to journalists, appeared to be aimed at discrediting Tarcisio Bertone, who as Secretary of State is the de facto prime minister of the tiny city state, as senior Vatican figures jostle for influence in the selection of Benedict's successor.

They alluded to corruption in the awarding of contracts by the Holy See, a determination to cover up wrongdoing, bitter rivalry between senior Vatican figures and deep rifts over efforts to make the Vatican's bank more transparent.

Mr Gabriele will have to face one more interrogation before a judge decides whether to clear him or send him to trial.

The trial would not start until September at the earliest, Father Lombardi said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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