Pope Benedict XVI feels betrayed by his butler, who was arrested during an investigation into Vatican whistle blowers, and is determined to root moles out, spokesman Federico Lombardi said Tuesday.
“The pope is a witness to a case which touches him closely. It is a trial for him. He is suffering but also desires to understand, shed light on the matter, and discover the truth,” Lombardi said at a press conference.
“He is particularly hurt with regard to one person, Paolo Gabriele, who he was close to, who he knew, loved and respected,” Lombardi said in reference to Benedict’s butler, who was arrested after he was found in possession of secret papal papers.
Lombardi denied Italian media reports that five cardinals had been interrogated as part of the investigation into the leak of confidential documents to newspapers, but said that searches were still being carried out.
Gabriele’s arrest was greeted with disbelief as the 46-year-old was known for his papal devotion and loyalty and there has been speculation he was a simply a pawn in a game of intrigue and struggle for power inside the Holy See.
His lawyers on Monday said he would “collaborate widely” with Vatican authorities, sparking wild speculation in the national media that the butler may be about to spill the beans on other whistle blowers.
Gabriele, who has worked at the Vatican since 2006 and was one of a select few with access to the pope’s private quarters, was arrested a month after Benedict set up a special commission of cardinals to probe the leaks.
The documents, splashed in the national media and published in a book, have shed light on many Vatican secrets, including the Church’s tax problems, child sex scandals and negotiations with hardline traditionalist rebels.
[Pope Benedict XVI waves to worshippers before a mass at the Vatican on May 27. AFP Photo/Filippo Monteforte]