Pope’s butler says guilty of betrayal
VATICAN CITYPope Benedict XVI’s butler said he is innocent of charges of stealing the pope’s private correspondence but acknowledged he feels guilty of betraying the trust of the pontiff, whom he said he loved like a father.
Paolo Gabriele took the stand yesterday in a Vatican courtroom to defend himself against a charge of aggravated theft. He said he was not guilty of “aggravated theft” but guilty of betraying Pope’s trust. He also added that Pope was not informed about things he should have been told about, Reuters reported.
Prosecutors say Gabriele stole papal letters and documents alleging power struggles and corruption and passed them off to a journalist in one of the most damaging scandals of Benedict’s pontificate.
In other testimony yesterday, the pope’s private secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, testified that he began having suspicions about Gabriele after he realized three documents that appeared in the journalist’s book could only have come from the office he shared with Gabriele, according to the Associated Press.
A Vatican judge also ordered an investigation of the Holy See’s police force after Gabriele said he was held in a tiny room with the light on constantly for the first few weeks of his detention.