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Author of Vatican leaks book defends pope’s butler, explains motives, seeks clemency
The author of the book of Vatican secrets that earned the pope’s former butler an 18-month sentence for stealing private papal correspondence has set out to explain his source’s motives and appeal for clemency.
Several European newspapers published an op-ed piece by Gianluigi Nuzzi on Monday in which the Italian journalist defended the actions of Paolo Gabriele and sought to put them in a context he said hadn’t been fully explained during Gabriele’s trial. Nuzzi provided an advance copy to The Associated Press.
A Vatican tribunal on Saturday convicted Gabriele of aggravated theft for stealing the pope’s private correspondence and passing it onto Nuzzi in the gravest Vatican security breach in recent times. Gabriele was sentenced to an 18-month term, which he is serving under house arrest in his Vatican City apartment awaiting an expected papal pardon.
Gabriele confessed to photocopying some of the pope’s private letters and giving them to Nuzzi, saying he wanted to shed light on the “evil and corruption” he saw around him in the Vatican that he believed was being kept from the pope.
Nuzzi said he wanted to further explain Gabriele’s motives, which he said he ascertained over the course of several encounters that formed the basis of the book “His Holiness: Pope Benedict XVI’s Secret Papers,” which was published in May.
Gabriele, he said, was at the receiving end of disgruntled Vatican cardinals, bishops and managers who came to him “day after day” with their secrets and concerns “hoping he would bring them to the pope.”
The 85-year-old Benedict, Nuzzi wrote, had called for greater transparency in the church and yet was himself the victim of apparent efforts to keep him in the dark. [More]