Mario Ginelli writes from Rome: So, it really was the butler wot dunnit! The manservant in question (literally) is of course, Paolo Gabriele. The master, His Holiness and nice German, Pope Benedict.
Wot he dun (the butler, not the Holy Father) was to go through the most sensitive papers in the Pope’s office and pass them to an Italian hack, Gianluigi Nuzzi, who published them in his book which came out last May. The papers showed that there are bitter power struggles going on in the Vatican.
Italians are of course amazed, shocked and horrified. No one would have expected to learn of such goings on in the ‘head office’ of the Roman Catholic Church. Is this not a place of cardinals with little round caps, Michelangelo’s blingy ceilings and bed-time stories about the fascinating Borgias? And let’s not forget the strange goings on at Vatican Banco Ambrosiano whose Robert Calvi was found hanging from London’s (appropriately named) Blackfriar’s Bridge all those years ago.
And what about the most odd relationship between Pius XII and the Gestapo? How pleased also are we at the skill of the charitable discretion of bishops and their priests screwing small boys. And… but what’s the point of going on?
Are these not the comforting people and leaders of about one sixth of the world’s population? How could there be unsavoury events of plotting, counter-plotting, lying and disinformation in the Vatican disturbing enough for the seemingly thrice-blessed Paolo Gabriele to rifle the inner secrets of his master’s personal desk? (By the by, could he really be named after the archangel?)
There are, of course, terrible cynics out there who are not at all surprised that the papal butler found enough dirt to embarrass the Vatican. Clearly horrid people. We must ask how they can live with such perverted minds. See how they gloat over the misfortunes of holy others and will do it again when it all comes to court this coming Tuesday when Mr Gabriele will be questioned by the Vatican judges.
If we should think that a little cosy, let’s not forget that the Vatican has been a state since 1929. Its judges are naturally beyond reproach and each has read the diaries of Caesar’s wife – which one is not clear. Moreover, why anyone should bother with this little bit of nonsense is beyond most contemplative disciples of the Vatican – and there are many in contemplation.
Mind you, this is one of the most serious crises in the seven years of Benedict’s papacy.The dilemma is obvious. Mr Gabriele must not be allowed to get away with what is a disgraceful betrayal of trust. That never happens in the Vatican. Moreover, his chum, a computer wizard, Claudio Sciarpelletti, will also go to the dock, but not with Mr Gabriele. So more revelations – only they will be under some legalistic veil.
On the other hand, the more often the two appear, the more people will talk and hear things best left unread and said. But however this is played, the word will get out just as the butler’s bundle of bloodletting and sucking is out.
Hopefully it will all be over by the end of this week and we can all get back to the peaceful and benign ways of the Vatican. We do hope that is not wishful thinking because what found its way into the hands of Mr Nuzzi seems to be ammunition to bring down just one man, not all the Holy See, but the most trusted Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
The Pope has let it be known that the affair has brought sadness to his heart. That’s as nothing to what it may bring to the cardinal’s.
We know that this is not even a storm in a teacup. Cardinal Bertone may not, however, be a tea drinker. Something a little stronger may be needed by the end of this week.