Pope Benedict’s former butler stole highly sensitive papers the pontiff had marked “to be destroyed” and compromised Vatican security through his actions, the Holy See’s police told his trial on Wednesday, October 3, according to Reuters.
On the third day of Paolo Gabriele’s trial, testimony depicted a man fascinated by the occult, Masonic lodges, secret services and past Italian and Vatican scandals.
Gabriele’s leak to an Italian journalist of sensitive documents, some of them alleging corruption in the Vatican, caused one of the biggest crises of Pope Benedict’s papacy.
The mass of incriminating documents included personal letters between the pope, cardinals and politicians on a variety of subjects.
Some papers, police agent Stefano Santis said, bore the pope’s handwriting and had been marked “to be destroyed” by the pontiff in German. He did not say what those papers concerned.
Some of the documents were copies of encrypted documents. “One photocopy was enough to threaten the operations of the Holy See,” De Santis told the court, without elaborating.
The agents said they found a mass of documents and books filled with newspaper clippings on the occult, secret services, Masonic lodges, yoga, political scandals in Italy, scandals involving the Vatican bank and other subjects.
Police said Gabriele, once one of fewer than 10 people who had the key to an elevator leading to the private papal apartment, had printed instructions on how to hide files in computers and how to use cellphones secretly.
Bishop Francesco Cavina, who knew Gabriele in the Vatican, told Italian newspaper La Repubblica that the butler, a father-of-three, may have a “disturbed mind” and “a split personality”.
De Santis said the search turned up “many more” papers than appeared in a book by Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, who wrote a muckraking expose early in 2012.
The letters to the pope included one in which a senior Vatican functionary expressed concern about corruption in the Holy See’s business dealings with Italian companies.
The letter-writer, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, was posted to Washington after raising the issue, despite begging to be allowed to stay at the papal state.
The trial adjourned until Saturday, when a verdict is expected.