SPIEGEL ONLINE INTERNATIONAL: Though Pope Benedict XVI's personal butler has been arrested in connection with the "Vatileaks" scandal, new documents released over the weekend indicate he had powerful backers that remain unidentified. The secret documents expose the pontiff's awkward and helpless leadership in the Church.
Do the two know each other? Is one the other's source? Could it be that they teamed up to harm the German-born head of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI?
Few others in Rome have been the object of such intense speculation recently as these two men. But, as chance would have it, despite their physical proximity, they probably won't be running into each other any time soon.
One of them is looking out of a 4 meter (13 foot) by 4 meter detention cell in a Vatican police station on the wall surrounding the papal state. He has been sitting there for almost two weeks now, and almost everyone knows his name: Paolo Gabriele, the pope's 46-year-old personal butler.
Shortly before Pentecost, Benedict's private secretary, Monsignor Georg Gänswein, reportedly uncovered Gabriele as a spy. Investigators found four boxes with copies of strictly confidential letters to and from Pope Benedict in Gabriele's apartment.
Since then, Gabriele has been viewed as a traitor and called "il corvo," the raven, an animal known for its thieving disposition. His lawyers say he will finally submit to formal questioning this week -- and that he is prepared to tell all.
Is this merely the climax of the so-called "Vatileaks" scandal, which has been smoldering since January, when a series of secret documents began coming to light? Or is it just the beginning? There's no doubt that this flood of paper out of the Vatican is a sign of what the Italian weekly magazine Panorama calls one of the "worst crises in the history of the Holy See," or what Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi has described as a "difficult test" for the pope.
In any case, it is a crime story that not even Dan Brown could have better concocted -- but one in which Gabriele is possibly just a marginal figure because Vatican officials are still searching for the true masterminds behind the scandal.
Indeed, they appear to remain at large. Despite the butler's arrest, the leaks continued over the weekend. While the pope was on a three-day trip to Milan, Italian paper La Repubblica published Vatican documents on Sunday that included two bearing the signature of his secretary. » | Fiona Ehlers in Rome | Monday, June 04, 2012