Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Vatican Judge Piero Antonio Bonnet has indicted the pope's personal butler Paolo Gabriele (pictured) for aggravated theft. The latter has been under arrest since 23 May for stealing private papers from Benedict XVI's apartments. The indictment was made public today along with the formal charges laid by the promoter of justice, Nicola Picardi.
The indictment has three new elements. First, a second person, Claudio Sciarpelletti is under investigation. A computer expert working in the Secretariat of State, he was arrested on 25 May and released the following day but is still charged as an accessory to the fact. Second, a search of Mr. Gabriele's flat found other purloined items besides documents, including a cheque dated 26 March 2012 for 100,000 Euros (US$ 123,000) from the Universidad Catolica San Antonio de Guadalupe) made out to the pope, a golden nugget given to His Holiness by ARU Director Guido del Castillo in Lima (Peru), and a 16th century edition of Virgil's Aeneid translated by Annibal Caro published in Venice in 1581, a gift from families in Pomezia. Thirdly, Paolo Gabriele underwent psychiatric evaluation.
Fr Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, said the butler was examined because of the discrepancy between what people say about him, "an intelligent person, well-behaved and religious" and "his confession, backed by material evidence that suggests he committed a serious offence."
The examination was also motivated by what the promoter of justice said in the formal charges with regards to Gabriele's motives. "The investigation shows that Gabriele saw himself and still sees himself as sent by Providence to act as a 'mole' for the Holy Spirit in the place were the most important decisions are made so as to 'bring the Church back to the right path,' as he himself said during questioning on 5 June (Doc. N. 46). He appears to have a negative view on certain issues and about people involved in scams and abuses."
Speaking about leaked stolen documents, published in a book titled His Holiness by Gianluigi Nuzzi, the accused said, "I chose Nuzzi as interlocutor because of the impression he gave me in his book Vatican Inc. I trusted him because he seemed interested in informing without lying or dragging people through the mud." Gabriele said that he did not receive "any money or benefits" for these documents.
Significantly, Judge Bonnet said that the investigation "has not yet shed light on all the aspects of the case under investigation."
As Fr Lombardi noted, Vatican magistrates "neither affirm nor exclude the possibility that Paolo Gabriele had accomplices" or that "a formal request" may be made to foreign courts. (FP)