Pope gives his support to cardinal in ‘leak’ row
Pope Benedict XVI has expressed full support for his deputy, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the chief target of leaked documents which the pontiff’s butler has been charged with stealing.
The butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested in May. He remains locked up in a Vatican police “safe room”.
The leaked documents allege corruption over the awarding of infrastructure projects and a poisonous power struggle between rival groups of cardinals – the princes of the Church.
The Vatican yesterday released a letter from Benedict to Cardinal Bertone, his secretary of state or prime minister, in which he said: “I wish to express my profound appreciation for your discreet support and your enlightened counsel, which I have found of particular help in recent months.”
The Pope added: “Having noted with regret the unjust criticism raised against you, I want to renew the expression of my personal faith in you … which remains constant.”
The arrest of Gabriele was the climax of a terrible ten days for Benedict in May, during which the head of the Vatican bank was fired and a new book alleged cronyism and corruption in a Holy See riven by conflict between plotting cardinals.
Vatican chief spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said a trial would not take place before October, but Gabriele could be released into house arrest before then.
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