First book on Vatileaks affair is out
Vatican news correspondent, Enzo Romeo, has just published a book analysing the tensions in the Holy See over the past two years. The text reveals the involvement of a Vatican policeman in the Vatileaks inquiry
“It does make one wonder what poison pen letter writers, moles and all this poison have to do with the announcement of Christ’s message, which should be the Church’s only priority. Nothing in theory…But money, power, scandals and gossip – evenn wars – are part of human history and the Church is immersed in this history…The Church must live with the failures which are a reminder that we need to constantly convert to the Gospel. It will also have to take recent events as a lesson and speed up that renewal which is vital if the Church is to engage in a dialogue with modern man and ensure that he does not forget the transcendental realm.”
These opening words are the key to reading “Guerre Vaticane” (“Vatican Wars” – Rubettino publishers, pp. 272, 13 Euros), the book written by Enzo Romeo, Vatican correspondent and editor-in-chief of Tg2’s world news section (Tg2 is Italian television channel Rai 2’s news programme, Ed.).The book is the first attempt to analyse what has been going on in the Roman Curia over the past two years. What is interesting about Romeo’s book is that it gives a comprehensive interpretation of events, a “war” characterised by blows and counter-blows, anonymous letters and an unscrupulous use of the media, which caused clashes between various networks and groups.
One of the revelations the book makes is the involvement of a Vatican policeman in the inquiry into the leaked confidential documents. It is likely that the policeman had some kind of contact with the Pope’s self-confessed former butler who has now been sentenced to a year and a half in prison for the theft of secret documents from the papal apartment and for photocopying and sending them to Italian writer, Gianluigi Nuzzi. The policeman was initially suspended from service as a precaution and had no direct involvement in Gabriele’s trial. He may do in the brief and less important trial against Vatican Secretariat of State computer technician, Claudio Sciarpelletti, on 5 November. However, it is likely Vatican investigators have not found enough evidence against him and this is probably the reason why his involvement has so far been kept secret.
The book’s real value lies in the fact that the “Paoletto” affair is presented within the context of a number of other events which may not be linked to the Paolo Gabriele case from a judicial point of view, but they formed the breeding ground for the Vatileaks scandal. Although the former papal butler’s sentence established that there were no accomplices or instigators involved, to believe that “Paoletto” was the only bad apple in a basket full of shiny, healthy apples, is simply not realistic. Romeo’s book included chapters on the Boffo case (which could be considered the opening chapter of the “Vatican wars”); the case of the Vatican Secretary of State, Carlo Maria Viganò; the saga surrounding the Toniolo Institute, the “safe” of Rome’s Catholic University of the Sacred Heart which caused a clash between the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and the then Archbishop of Milan, Dionigi Tettamanzi; the Vatican bank scandal and the abrupt dismissal of its president, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi.
Romeo’s book presents readers with the facts, without bombarding them with interpretations. It shows that the explanations given by those who see Vatileaks only as the consequence of a clash between the “old diplomatic guard” and the “new guard” represented by Bertone and his men are inadequate. Just as inadequate are the theories which see events as a result of internal jealousies and resentment against Benedict XVI’s German entourage. Or as the result of a targeted attack against the Pope by individuals both inside and outside the Vatican who want to remove Benedict XVI from the helm of the Catholic Church. All these elements undoubtedly contributed to the Vatileaks scandal but they are not enough to explain the complete picture, which yet again reveals unresolved governance issues. “A lack of coordination has been one of the problems that has surfaced in the Roman Curia in recent years; a Curia marked by too much chaos and discord.”
In “Guerre Vaticane”, Romeo quotes a speech Ratzinger addressed to youth of the Pontifical Roman Major Seminary in 2009: “Instead of trying to enter into communion with Christ through the Body of Christ which is the Church, each person wants to be superior to others and in their intellectual arrogance they try to make others believe they are better. This gives rise to destructive controversies which makes a caricature of the Church, when it should be united and beat as one heart.” These words go hand in hand with Bishop Tonino Bello’s opening prayer at the start of the book: “Save me from the presumption that I know everything, from the arrogance of those who do not accept questions; from the toughness of those who do not tolerate delays; from the rigidity of those who do not forgive weaknesses; from the hypocrisy of those who safeguard principles and kill people.”