Three Vatican 'moles' named in leaks scandal
A cardinal, a bishop and the Pope's German housekeeper come under investigation
Three Vatican figures, including two senior members of the clergy, have been named as suspected moles in a scandal that has seen the Holy See rocked by a series of damaging leaks.
The new intrigue comes just days after Pope Benedict's butler Paolo Gabriele, 46, was released from jail and placed under house arrest for his suspected part in the affair.
The new suspects are reported to be Cardinal Paolo Sardi, a former Papal speechwriter; Bishop Josef Clemens, the Pope's former personal assistant; and the Pope's German housekeeper Ingrid Stampa. The latter is said to be among the few people at Holy See able to decipher the pontiff's handwriting, according to the newspaper La Repubblica.
Mr Gabriele has been blamed by Vatican investigators for passing on sensitive documents that have led to the widespread publication of reports claiming nepotism, death threats, gay smear campaigns and tax irregularities at the Holy See. One of the leaked documents suggested Pope Benedict's new ambassador in Washington was exiled in the US because he had blown the whistle on financial corruption.
The Vatican admits that nearly 30 people have been questioned in the probe so far. But it insists that Mr Gabriele remains the only person officially under suspicion.
No one at the Vatican was available yesterday to comment on the fresh claims. But speaking on Vatican Radio, chief spokesman Father Federico Lombardi denied there were further suspects. He said the claims in La Repubblica were merely copied from earlier speculation in the German press. Most Vatican experts doubt, however, that the Pope's butler could or would have acted alone in identifying sensitive documents (some in German), stealing them and delivering them to Italian journalists.
"No one here believes the official Vatican line," said Robert Mickens, the Rome Correspondent of Catholic newspaper, The Tablet. "There's no one, and none of my colleagues working at the Vatican, who thinks that Paolo Gabriele could have acted alone. He was clearly working with, or more likely for, one or more persons higher in the pecking order, and that means bishops and senior church figures."
Many Vatican observers suggest the damaging leaks are part of a campaign against the Pontiff and his equally unpopular number two, the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
At the weekend Mr Gabriele was released from the Vatican jail having spent 60 days in detention, and placed under house arrest. His father insisted on his son's innocence. But the papal butler's lawyer claimed at a Vatican press conference that his client acted on his own initiative when he took the documents and stashed them in his Vatican apartment.
Vatican magistrate Piero Antonio Bonnet will decide in the next two weeks whether to charge Mr Gabriele with "aggravated theft", in which case he would be committed for public trial in the autumn. If found guilty, he could spend up to six years in jail.
- 1 Kylie Jenner challenge: Bizarre lip suction device inspired by Kardashian sister goes viral
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 5 Giorgio Armani criticises the way some gay men dress saying 'a man has to be a man'
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...
£12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...