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The Vatican scandal could prove to widen

Scott Hixson

The Vatican scandal could prove to widen

The pope’s butler has agreed to cooperate with investigators

The Vatican scandal could soon widen as it is reported the pope’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, has agreed to cooperate with the investigation into how confidential church documents were leaked to the public.

In the biggest scandal to shake the Vatican in decades, Gabriele was arrested Wednesday after Holy See documents were found in his Vatican City apartment. Gabriele has served as the Pope’s personal butler since 2006. Gabriele is being held in a Vatican detention center accused of theft.

For months, the Vatican has been plagued with the leaking of dozens of confidential documents. These documents have cast light on power struggles and corruption within the highest levels of the Catholic Church.

Carlo Fusco, Gabriele’s lawyer, said Monday that Gabriele was “very serene and calm,” in the face of the speculation swirling around his arrest. Fusco added that his client told the Vatican judge investigating the case that he would “respond to all the questions and collaborate with investigators to ascertain the truth.”

Italian media has theorized that Gabriele could not have worked alone to ascertain and leak the documents but instead had some help, possibly from high-ranking members of the church, perhaps even a cardinal.

The Vatican spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi, has dismissed these claims, citing suspicion over the plethora of anonymous sources that have appeared in recent months.

Lombardi has said that Pope Benedict XVI is “aware of the delicate situation that the Roman curia is going through.” He added that the Pope has acknowledged the “negative image” of the Vatican that has emerged in the wake of the scandal but believes it is important to “reestablish a climate of clarity, truth, transparency and trust as soon as possible.”

The Vatican scandal broke in January with Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi’s broadcasting of letters from a Vatican administrator to the pope that revealed alleged corruption resulting in the loss of millions of euros for the Holy See.

The Vatican scandal widened in the following months with a near-treasure-trove of confidential and personal documents being released to the public. Many of the documents center on the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and aim to provide evidence for why he should resign from his position. Another leaked memo even claimed the pope would die this year.

With the cooperation of the pope’s butler, the Vatican scandal and the investigation being conducted are far from finished.

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