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UPDATE: Paolo Gabriele, the pope’s butler who was arrested for having confidential documents in his home, has agreed to cooperate with investigators, raising the possibility that high-ranked Church officials could soon become involved in the scandal. The Vatican strongly denied Italian media reports that said cardinals were suspected of using the pope’s butler to leak documents as part of a power struggle within the Church, reports the Associated Press.
The Vatican spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi, said many officials in the Vatican were being questioned but “there is no cardinal under suspicion.” Still, Lombardi recognized the scandal could hurt trust in the Church, reports Reuters.
Saturday, May 26, at 12:24 p.m.: In the end, the butler seems to have done it. Or at least that’s what the papal police seem to believe. The Vatican confirmed Saturday that the pope’s butler has been arrested in a leaks scandal, a move that the Associated Press describes as “a Hollywood twist” to a tale of corruption and power struggles at the highest levels of the Catholic Church.
“We have cells,” a Vatican spokesman tells the Guardian, seemingly responding to incredulity that the tiny country even has the facilities to hold a prisoner. “It is a simple structure, since this is a small state, but we have them.”
Paolo Gabriele was arrested Wednesday after incriminating documents were found in his Vatican City apartment. Gabriele “lives in the Pope’s shadow” and is probably the person who sees Pope Benedict XVI most frequently on a daily basis even though he holds no ecclesiastical qualifications, notes the BBC.
The arrest came the same week as the president of the Vatican Bank was ousted after the book Your Holiness: The Secret Papers of Benedict XVI revealed that conflicts over the management of the institution has led to clashes within the church leadership, points out the New York Times. The ousted banker said that he would have to say “ugly things” in order to defend himself, so he would instead stay quiet out of his respect for Pope Benedict, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The author of the book, Gianluigi Nuzzi, says he held meetings with the Vatican whistle-blower in an unfurnished apartment near the Vatican, according to the Guardian.
While the book only heightened the scandal, Italian media had already been publishing letters for several months that revealed the conflicts that exist within the secretive state. That’s why many doubt the butler was the sole source for all the leaks. “His arrest seems more the Vatican’s desire to find a scapegoat,” a Vatican expert tells the New York Times.