Tags: Pope | Benedict | Vatican | leaks

Exhausted Pope Overwhelmed by Insider Battles

Sunday, 17 Jun 2012 12:53 PM

By Paul Scicchitano

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Pope Benedict XVI is both tired and unwilling to wield his power over an increasingly disruptive scandal to his papacy, according to Der Spiegel.

Der Spiegel also reports that Paolo Gabriele, the Pope’s former butler, is being held in a 377-square-foot cell in the Vatican with a window but no television.

New documents leaked to the public last week target the Pope’s private secretary, Georg Gänswein, and Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's top administrator, with the threatened publication of "hundreds" of other secret documents if the two are not "kicked out” of the Vatican.

"This is blackmail," Vatican expert Marco Politi, was quoted as saying. "It's like threatening total war."

The publication also quoted an anonymous monsignor who charged that the Pope is not interested in the daily affairs of the Vatican, preferring instead to pore over books and write speeches.

Meanwhile, The Associated Press reports that the Pope is getting a briefing from the three cardinals he appointed in April to investigate a series of leaked Vatican documents that have cast the top governance of the Catholic Church in a poor light.

The cardinals were given a broad mandate to interview Vatican officials across the board to get to the bottom of the leaks and report back to the Pope. They are working separately from a criminal probe headed by the Pope's top bodyguard, a former Italian secret service agent who heads the Vatican police force.

So far only Gabriele has been arrested. The 46-year-old father of three was arrested May 23 and accused of aggravated theft after reams of papal documents were found in his Vatican City apartment.

He is to undergo a new round of interrogation next week by the investigating judge after a week-long hiatus.

The Vatican said Saturday that Benedict was to meet later in the day with the commission investigating the leaks. It is headed by one of the Vatican's top legal heavyweights: Cardinal Julian Herranz, an Opus Dei prelate who led the Vatican's legal office as well as the disciplinary commission of the Vatican bureaucracy before retiring.

The leaks scandal broke in January when Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi revealed letters from a former top Vatican administrator who begged the Pope not to transfer him for having exposed alleged corruption that cost the Holy See millions of euros in higher contract prices.

The prelate was transferred and is now the Vatican's U.S. ambassador.

The scandal widened over the following months with documents leaked to Italian journalists that laid bare power struggles inside the Vatican over its efforts to show greater financial transparency and comply with international norms to fight money laundering.

Last month Nuzzi published a book based on a trove of new documentation, including personal correspondence to and from the Pope and his private secretary, much of which painted the Vatican secretary of state in a negative light.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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