Vatileaks, Part 2: Two Arrested Over Leak of Vatican Documents
Letters from the Journal of Robert Moynihan, #53, 2015
November 2, 2015, Monday, Feast of All Souls
“Radix omnium malorum cupiditas est” (“The love of money is the root of all evils”). —St. Paul, First Letter to Timothy, 6:10; a more idiomatic understanding of this phrase is, “For every possible kind of evil can be motivated by the love of money,” meaning, greed can lead to any number of different kind of evils, not that all evil is rooted in the love of money
And here we go again…
More arrests in the Vatican over leaked documents…
November in Rome begins with the news that two people who have worked in the Vatican have been arrested by Vatican police on the charge of leaking confidential Vatican documents, especially regarding Vatican finances, to journalists.
In a statement early this afternoon in Rome, the Vatican said the two — a laywoman, Doctor Francesca Chaouqui and a Spanish monsignor, the Rev. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda (ph — had been questioned over the weekend, and that prosecutors for the Holy See had upheld the arrests.
The news comes on the eve of the publication of two new books about the Vatican’s finances, which promise astonishing revelations based on secret documents.
Therefore, many are speculating that these arrests are directly related to the publication of these two books, that is, that the two people arrested are suspected by the Vatican of being the sources for at least some of the documents about to be made public.
The two books are:
(1) Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi’s Merchants in the Temple. Nuzzi was the author of the famous 2012 book, His Holiness, detailing corruption and political intrigue in the Vatican of Pope Benedict. That book sparked the so-called “Vatileaks scandal,” and, some say, was one of the reasons for Benedict’s historic resignation.
(2) Italian journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi is releasing Avarice: Documents Revealing Wealth, Scandals and Secrets of Francis’ Church. Fittipaldi writes for L’Espresso newsweekly, the magazine that Sandro Magister also writes for, and which recently published the letter by 13 cardinals warning Francis about his family synod. (Interestingly, Magister is out today with an article in which he says he warned against the hiring of both Chaouqui and Vallejo Balda, whom he says is a member of the Prelature of Opus Dei.
So we seem to be entering into a new phase of the “Vatileaks” scandal.
We might call it “Vatileaks, Part 2.”
Both books are coming out later this week, on November 5 — so stay tuned.
Here is a link to an AP article which gives further background.
Vallejo Balda is a Vatican employee; Chaouqui had served on a commission set up by Pope Francis in 2013 as part of his effort to bring about reforms in the finances of the Holy See.
The Vatican said Vallejo Balda was being held in a jail cell inside Vatican City — the cell is located just a few steps from the Domus Santa Marta where the Pope lives — and that Chaouqui released because she had cooperated in the investigation.
In the case that was called “Vatileaks,” the removal and publication of documents from Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI’s private desk led in 2012 to the arrest and trial of the Pope’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, and of a Vatican computer technician, Claudio Sciarpelleti.
In 2013, a new Vatican law made it a crime to leak confidential documents and information.
In recent days, reports in the Italian press have said that the Vatican’s police force was investigating to see who had tampered with the computer of a top Vatican prelate who deals with financial matters.
The Vatican on Monday confirmed that there was an investigation into the tampering, but declined to say if that incident was related to the two arrests.
All of this suggests that the “Vatileaks scandal” that occurred under Pope Benedict is entering a new phase under Pope Francis.
Here is a link to an article from three years ago which may help to put some of this in perspective. The central paragraph is this one: “The book’s real value lies in the fact that the ‘Paoletto’ affair [‘Paoletto,’ which means ‘Little Paul,’ refers to the butler, Paolo Gabriele] 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.