Police say that they have detained an individual on suspicion of leaking confidential Vatican documents. The Vatican has confirmed that the man is Pope Benedict XVI's butler.
The Holy See confirmed on Saturday that it had arrested Pope Benedict's butler in connection with a probe into leaks of confidential documents in the Vatican. Allegations of cronyism and corruption with regards to Vatican contracts have also been raised in the case, according to senior Vatican sources.
Holy See spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said that Paolo Gabriele was arrested in his home inside Vatican City with secret documents in his possession.
"It's all very sad," one senior Vatican official commented on Friday.
The scandal, which has been dubbed the "Vatileaks" affair, pertains to the releasing of a series of documents to the Italian media in January and February, including personal letters written to the pope. Some of the documents involved charges of corruption, bad management and cronyism in the handing out of contracts. They also pointed to internal wrangling over the management of the Vatican's bank.
More specifically, the leaked materials included letters written by an archbishop who was relocated to the United States after he "exposed" what he claimed was a network of corruption, as well as a memo which depicted a number of cardinals in an unflattering light.
The president of the Vatican bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, was dismissed by its board on Thursday, apparently for not being up to the job. But unconfirmed sources allege that he is suspected of having had a hand in the leaks.
According to the Italian daily Il Foglio newspaper, the man who has been arrested is the pope's butler.
The pope's butler works in the Apostolic Palace. His duties range from visiting dignitaries to working within the papal offices. The holder of the position, because he works at the centre of the papal household, is privy to happenings in the Vatican's most private quarters.
sej,slk/msh (AFP, Reuters)