Papal assistant described as pious; says he acted for good of church
Paolo Gabriele, the personal assistant of Pope Benedict XVI accused of illicitly copying private Vatican correspondence and giving it to a journalist, told Vatican investigators he acted out of concern for the pope and the church.
Documents released by the Vatican Aug. 13 outline the case against Gabriele, including his own statements about his motivations, but also others’ descriptions of him and selected quotations from reports filed by psychiatrists and psychologists asked by the Vatican to examine him.
The documents explain why the Vatican had decided to formally indict Gabriele and try him on charges of aggravated theft. The trial date will not be announced before late September.
Dr. Roberto Tatarelli, a professor of psychiatry at Sapienza University of Rome, reported that Gabriele showed no signs of “clinically significant disturbances” that could explain his actions or cast doubt on his ability to understand what he was doing was wrong.
But the doctor wrote that Gabriele had a “simple intelligence” and a “fragile personality with paranoid tendencies, covering up a deep personal insecurity and an unresolved need to enjoy the esteem and affection of others,” according to the report by Piero Bonnet, the Vatican’s investigating judge.
Summarizing what other witnesses told Vatican investigators, Bonnet said Gabriele was described as a believing and committed Catholic, able to carry out his job as a sort of papal valet “with the diligence and reserve it required.”
One unnamed witness described him as “very pious, attending the holy Mass celebrated by the Holy Father daily, and he prayed often.”
Another quoted by Bonnet said that while Gabriele worked conscientiously, he did not take the initiative or find better ways to do his job, but “did what he was told.”
Msgr. Georg Ganswein, Pope Benedict’s personal secretary, told investigators Gabriele needed to be “continually guided and directed” and “sometimes it was necessary to repeat things more than once.”
Nevertheless, after about a year of working together, Msgr. Ganswein, a German, said he began giving Gabriele simple administrative tasks, including drafting responses to letters and notes in Italian when the subject matter was not particularly sensitive. [More]