By David Kerr
The special Commission of Cardinals established by Pope Benedict XVI to investigate the leak of confidential Vatican documents is on the verge of presenting its discoveries.
“It is expected the committee will meet with the Pope next week to present him with the results of their investigation,” said Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, adding that “the Pope will then be able to draw his own conclusions.”
The three person committee has been looking into the so-called “Vatileaks” scandal since April when it was tasked by Pope Benedict with undertaking “an authoritative investigation” to “throw light on these episodes.”
The investigating team is led by 82-year-old Spanish Cardinal Julian Herranz, the former president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. He is being assisted by the 88-year-old Slovakian Cardinal Jozef Tomko and the 81-year-old Italian Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi, the Archbishop Emeritus of Palermo, Sicily.
Since January, the internal governance of the Vatican has been rocked by the continual flow of confidential documents to the media, including letters personally addressed to Pope Benedict.
The only person arrested so far as part of the Vatican police investigation is the Pope’s butler, Paolo Gabriele. The 46-year-old Italian was charged on May 26 with the “aggravated theft” of confidential Vatican documents found in his apartment.
Fr. Lombardi confirmed July 12 that Gabriele will likely be detained in the Vatican’s jail “for about another 10 days” while “the information gathering phase” of his case is concluded.
It was presumed that he would be released this week, after 50 days of detention, the maximum permitted under Vatican law. However, Fr. Lombardi explained that an extension of up to another 50 days can be granted.
The Vatican spokesman said Gabriele would “remain in custody for more days despite the 50 day period already being passed” as some things “still need to be sorted out.”
He added that the butler is presently “serene and finds comfort in prayer, and has no psychological or health problems.”
Any potential trial for Gabriele will not take place before this coming October.