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September 29, 2012 10:35 AM Vatileaks, Ctd.

By Simon van Zuylen-Wood

Do you remember Vatileaks? Maybe? Well, we have an update for you. The Pope’s butler—the very man who once dressed the Roman Pontiff—has commenced his trial today. Accused in May of stealing Papal documents and sharing them with an Italian journalist, Paolo Gabriele now faces up to four years in prison. Along with private correspondence and other classified documents, Gabriele nabbed a 16th century copy of the Virgil’s Aneid, a 100,000 Euro check and a gold nugget. (It’s unclear if Gabriele would be facing charges had he merely faxed over a slew of letters and memos, rather than stolen materials outright.)

For his efforts, it’s worth revisiting a few of his revelations. Borgia-style Vatican corruption, he found, is alive and well. From the Daily Beast:

Dino Boffo, the former editor of the Catholic newspaper Avvenire, [asked] a high-ranking cardinal and the pope to intervene against editor Gain Maria Vian of the rival Catholic newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, who had leaked allegations that Boffo had harassed the wife of his gay lover. There are also letters from Italian public figures like Bruno Vespa, a well-known television journalist—like an Italian Mike Wallace—whose note with a donation of €10,000 donation to the church included a peculiar postscript: “When can I have a private audience?” One document outlines the trail of a €100,000 white truffle, donated by a prestigious Italian in exchange for a papal favor, which ended up in a soup-kitchen pasta lunch for the homeless.

Closer to home, Gabriele’s findings revealed systemic problems in the American diocese too. At one point the Vatican had $10 million sent to a federal bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Del., to bail out the heavily indebted Church. Indeed, getting sent to work in America, with its roiling pedophilia scandal and meddlesome nuns, was a form of high punishment. After one Cardinal uncovered corruption in the Vatican accounting office he was shipped to America for three years.

If nothing else, Gabriele’s trial should remind us how (necessarily, I suppose) resistant to transparency and open discourse the Vatican remains. Yesterday, the Times reported that Vatican newspaper bluntly disavowed a Harvard historian’s recent discovery of a Coptic text that suggests Jesus may have had a wife. L’Osservatore Romano called it an “inept forgery” and a “fake,” without bothering to wait for the carbon testing the document is undergoing in mid-October.

Simon van Zuylen-Wood is a writer for Philadelphia Magazine.

Comments

  • Ronald on September 29, 2012 11:02 AM:

    Yeah. Privacy is a bit harder nowadays with computers, and internet and stuff like that.
    The Vatican is stuck in the, I dunno, some past century.
    Prosecuting leakers, such as with the Wikileaks fiasco, will scare people but, eventually, the truth will be out.
    And with enough incentive (ie- money) I'm sure that somebody else can be bribed into stealing a lot more than a few documents and some odds and ends.

  • c u n d gulag on September 29, 2012 11:04 AM:

    Let's hope one of Mitt's butler's does to him what this guy did to expose Benny the Rat-faced-zinger, or, Pope Bene-dick (Good Dick - but only if it's young).

    At least the poor over there got a nice white truffle lunch from the Church of Holier-than-thou Child Schtupper's.

    The Romney's would have added it their dancing horse's feed.

  • Josef K on September 29, 2012 11:29 AM:

    And to think, there's a good sliver of the population who still hang on the words from this institution. Its kinda sad.

  • jjm on September 29, 2012 11:59 AM:

    to @c u n d gulag: One of Mitt's waiters already did.

  • c u n d gulag on September 29, 2012 12:04 PM:

    Joseph K,
    Yeah, they still hang on to the words of the same church that looked away while Hitler had his Holocaust.
    Hey, why care?
    Jews didn't tithe.

    And this same church that gave support to Franco, and a whole slew of Central and South American Dictators and Junta's.
    Hey, they tithe! And made their people tithe, and follow Catholic doctrine!

    Instead of fighting for the poor, and against Totalitarianism, Fascism, and Plutocracy, this 'He-man Woman Hater's Club' religion picks a woman's right to choose as its "red line," while protecting the child-feckers in their ranks.

    I wish there was a Hell. They deserve their own circle.

  • John B. on September 29, 2012 12:05 PM:

    "Gabrieles trial should remind us how (necessarily, I suppose) resistant to transparency and open discourse the Vatican remains."

    Gabriele's trial is being held behind closed doors, like confession. No press allowed. What it reminds me of is how a dictatorship abuses the courts for selfish purposes that undermine fairness and justice.

  • beb on September 29, 2012 12:29 PM:

    Could someone remind me why we send a diplomat to the headquarters of this one christian sect?

    And how does one type in a blot of dirt on the ocr scan used for the captcha ID?. This second round looks like reasonable like English

  • mudwall jackson on September 29, 2012 12:47 PM:

    c u n d gulag on September 29, 2012 12:04 PM:

    Joseph K,
    Yeah, they still hang on to the words of the same church that looked away while Hitler had his Holocaust.
    Hey, why care?
    Jews didn't tithe.


    "the church" isn't the hierarchy, the bureaucracy in rome; its individual believers who take to heart and follow the words and teachings of christ. despite the moral blindness of the holy see, there were catholics who practiced their faith, who resisted the evil of the nazi regime, many at the cost of their lives. they are the church, and they did not turn away.

  • TCinLA on September 29, 2012 12:54 PM:

    The Catholic Church is the most corrupt organization in history; of course they're worried that papyrus might be real and expose their 2,000 year con for the scam it always was. The only difference between the Borgias and now is the Vatican has electricity.

  • skeptonomist on September 29, 2012 12:57 PM:

    As a butler, Gabriele's job would have been to give the Pope his wine. We still await the revelations from the Pope's valet.

  • c u n d gulag on September 29, 2012 2:14 PM:

    mudwall,
    Yes, and thank you for making that distinction.

    I didn't mean to demean rank-and-file Catholics.

    OR the Nun's!

  • Texas Aggie on September 29, 2012 2:55 PM:

    Interesting that they could label the papyrus as a forgery so quickly, even without a thorough examination, but the Shroud of Turin is still up for argument despite numerous examinations showing that it only dates back to the Middle Ages. I guess whether something threatens their dominance and financial interests is more important than the truth.

  • Anonymous on September 29, 2012 3:34 PM:

    One document outlines the trail of a €100,000 white truffle, donated by a prestigious Italian in exchange for a papal favor, which ended up in a soup-kitchen pasta lunch for the homeless.

    Is that 100,000 Euros? For a truffle? How the hell big WAS it, the size of a basketball??
    I guess it's poetic justice it ended up feeding the poor (who must have been particularly grateful that day!)...

  • Jay C on September 29, 2012 3:36 PM:

    That was me @ 3:34.....

  • Doug on September 29, 2012 3:53 PM:

    And Texas Aggie for the win! Sorry, gulag.

  • c u n d gulag on September 29, 2012 4:40 PM:

    I happily concede defeat.

    As Catfish Hunter once said - "The sun don't shine on the same dog's ass every day." Or horse's asses...

  • boatboy_srq on September 30, 2012 3:47 AM:

    @beb:

    Could someone remind me why we send a diplomat to the headquarters of this one christian sect?

    I don't know: the idea of treating the Roman Catholic church as a foreign power has a certain deliciousness to it.

    I wonder if we could denounce Donahue and Dolan as agents of a non-American international body?