The Vatican in its indictment chose to cast some doubt on this idealistic motivation. The documents revealed that Gabriele had allegedly misappropriated some expensive gifts offered to the pope: a Renaissance translation of Virgil's Aeneid, a gold nugget, and a check for 100,000 euros, which, because it was made out to His Holiness the Pope, would have been impossible for him to cash or deposit. Gabriele acknowledged taking them but says he was planning on giving them back. The indictment also summarized the results of two psychiatric examinations. The court psychiatrists found Gabriele sound of mind and able to stand trial, but one of them found elements of "grandiosity" and "paranoia." Gabriele himself admitted having a flair for "intelligence" work, suggesting he may be a bit of a Walter Mitty, enjoying the spy craft of Vati-leaks. The decision to include this material in a document distributed to the public implies a desire on the Vatican's part to paint this as a case of individual pathology.
Commenting on the investigation, Greg Burke, the new communications director, insisted that Vati-leaks, "is not a cancer. It's an injured toe that will heal. The body is healthy."
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But if the pope's butler is the toe, there is clearly much more to this scandal.
Seen as a whole, the Vati-leaks documents have a common denominator: they describe a series of failed efforts at cleaning up aspects of Church life -- the finances of Vatican City, the Vatican Bank, and relations with Italian politics. And precisely because the leakers had lost an internal power struggle, they appear to have released the documentation of their struggle as their only weapon left, like the parting shot of a retreating army.
The principal target of the leakers is the current Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who is seen by his critics as concentrating too much power in his own hands and of not using it wisely or well.
"There is no room for internal criticism or debate, all power is concentrated in a single place," one letter to the pope states. "In various positions, people are nominated to positions where they play the contradictory role of both supervisor and those being supervised ... One sees the demoralization of honest, dedicated officials who are genuinely attached to the Church, leading one to believe that the Pope is not aware of what is happening."
Bertone's supporters insist that this moralizing language masks a naked power grab, the resistance of members of the Vatican old guard, composed mainly of the diplomatic corps, against the encroachment of outsiders -- the real reformers, Benedict and Bertone himself.
Traditionally, the high levels of the Vatican bureaucracy are manned by members of the Church's diplomatic corps, generally graduates of the elite Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy (Pontificia Academia Ecclesiastica) in Rome. It is like the Vatican's foreign service, and rather than becoming parish priests its graduates train to work within the Vatican itself. "These men chose a career, and they regard the Vatican as theirs," one source very close to Bertone told me.