Vatican Will Continue Investigating Theft of Private Documents

Popes Personal Assistant is Willing to Collaborate With Authorities

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By Antonio Gaspari

VATICAN CITY, MAY 29, 2012 (Zenit.org).- In a press conference, Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, director of the Vatican Press Office specified that for the moment no others are being investigated in connection to the theft of private documents stolen from the Vatican.

Paolo Gabriele, the Pope’s personal assistant is alleged to have stolen and copied private documents.  The accused has said he is willing to collaborate and the Holy See “will not be conditioned by media pressure.”

Father Lombardi explained that the Gabriele was arrested “because he was found in possession of private documents.”

In regard to new arrests, Father Lombardi said that he “denied in the most total way” that a cardinal “Italian or non-Italian” was “suspected in any particular way” by the authorities investigating news leaks of the private documents.

Given the theories circulating in Rome in the morning, the director of the Vatican Press Office added “I deny that a woman is being investigated.”

However, this does not mean that the investigations are not continuing. In fact, the ad hoc Cardinals’ Commission created by the Holy Father, presided over by Cardinal Julian Herranz and comprising of Cardinals Jozef Tomko and Salvatore De Giorgi, are hearing from “different people,  among whom are cardinals responsible for different offices of the Curia.”

Given the press articles indicating the leak of the private documents as part of a power struggle taking place within the Vatican Curia, Father Lombardi said: "I have no reason to give explanations of this nature, in fact, the way of reading these events is exaggerated and unfounded."

The director of the Vatican Press Office also revealed that "there is no connection" between the arrest of the Pope’s majordomo and the resignation of the president of the Institute of Religious Works (IOR), Ettore Gotti Tedeschi. These are "events which are clearly distinct," he stressed.

In regard to Paolo Gabriele’s intentions, Father Lombardi read the statement written by Carlo Fusco, the arrested individual’s defense lawyer, according to which the Holy Father’s personal assitant  "told the judge that he would give his fullest collaboration."

Moreover, Fusco specified that "Mrs. Manuela Gabriele, [the wife of Mr. Gabriele], unlike what has been reported by some media, never left her home, never gave an interview, or intends to do so at this time, confident, as I am also, in the action of the magistrate."

A simple person who began working in the Vatican doing cleaning in the State Secretariat, Gabriele became part of the Pope’s "family" in 2006, after having been at the service of the Prefect of the Papal Household, Archbishop James Harvey.

Meanwhile, Pope Benedict XVI , who initially was shocked, saddened and astounded, has expressed his firm determination to go forward with courage.

In front of 50,000 members of Renewal in the Spirit who crowded St. Peter’s Square on Saturday, the Pontiff reminded those present that “the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock” (Matthew 7: 24-25).

"Where there is division and alienation, Pentecost brings unity and understanding", the pope said.