VatiLeaks whistleblower: “The pope is in despair”

From La Republicca in Italy comes this interview with someone claiming to be one of whistleblowers in the burgeoning “VatiLeaks” scandal:

Who are the Vatican whistleblowers? “There isn’t just one brain behind the operation, there are several. There are cardinals, private secretaries, monsignors and the small fry. Men and women, priests and laypeople. The whistleblowers even include cardinals. But the Vatican Secretary of State cannot admit that and has the small fry arrested, like “Paoletto” (as Paolo Gabriele is affectionately known), the Pope’s valet. Who has got nothing to do with it apart from having passed on some letters.”

A suburb in the north of Rome, a table in a bar, traffic passing by. It is lunchtime on a now limpid Sunday morning and one of those behind the flow of confidential letters from the Holy See 1 is explaining how the operation works.”Those doing it are acting to protect the Pope.”

The Pope? Why?
“Because the whistleblower  -  or rather whistleblowers, because there are more than one of them  -  want to reveal the corruption inside the church in recent years, since 2009-2010.”

Who are they? Who are you?
“There are those opposed to the Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone. And those who think that Benedict XVI  is too weak to lead the church. And those who think that this is the time to step forward. So it’s become everyone against everyone else. It’s war and you no longer know which side anyone is on.”

My source is tormented, wanting to speak but at the same time frightened and full of doubts. No names to be published, it would put him or her at risk. There are sudden silences, suspicious glances. “Can I trust you? This thing is terribly delicate.” Let’s try.

How did the leaks from the Vatican start?
“Out of fear that the power accumulated by the Secretary of State was not in the interest of others in the Vatican.”

But is money also involved?
A hand runs through the hair, eyes look around, fingers torment a ring.

“Money is always involved. There are also economic interests in the Holy See. In 2009-2010 some cardinals began to sense a loss of central control: partly from attempts to restrict the freedom of the inquiry that Monsignor Carlo Maria Viganò was running against corruption, partly because of the Pope’s gradual detachment from internal matters.”

Meanwhile, how did the leaking of documents start?

“They started to come out. Channels and journalists were identified.”

How are they taken out?
“By hand. The Vatican intelligence service has integrated security systems in the basement of the Apostolic Palace, directed by a 35-year-old ex-hacker, that are more advanced than anything the CIA has, sophisticated systems, but they’re no use. Because the Cardinals are used to writing their messages by hand and dictating them. They are then delivered by hand. And the leaked documents are their way of fighting this war. The primary objective was to attack the Pope, to weaken him and convince him to give up control of the political and economic affairs of the Church. Something had to be done.”

And the president of the Vatican bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, who was ousted?
“Same thing. Even though he was really close to the Pope: they wrote the encyclical Caritas in Veritate together. Gotti didn’t answer to anyone, only the Pope, sending Benedict memos to describe the situation inside the IOR (Institute for Religious Works, the official name of the bank). Including the failed operations, like the law against money laundering or the takeover of the San Raffaele hospital and research centre. Bertone gets jealous, accuses Gotti and decides to oust him. When the Pope heard about Gotti’s dismissal last Thursday, he started to cry, “My friend Ettore!”

The Pope was crying?
“Yes, but then he got really angry and reacted, saying that the truth would come out.”

But he couldn’t oppose it?
“He could have, but it would have meant a sensational rupture with his Secretary of State.”

And then the next day?
“And the next day the Pope was struck again, close to home, when Paoletto was arrested. Now the Pope is in despair. But Paoletto is not the whistleblower, there are lots of whistleblowers. At most someone has used him.”

Read the whole thing.

And keep the Holy Father  in your prayers.   The barque of Peter is being assailed from all sides, and the waves are growing.

And check out John Allen’s expert analysis of the story, too.  It’s excellent.


  1. Pray for the Pope, but primarily pray for the Church so that the truth comes out. Whatever problems there are in Rome, whether it be from the curia or the Pope, they are all servants of the Church. May the truth not be covered up to save someone’s ecclesiastical rear end, whether it be pope or cardinal. No one is above the Church. All power in Rome needs to be reduced. It is too centralized in the curia and the Pope. It’s time to adopt the Orthodox model of synodality with the Pope presiding in charity. It’s time for EVERY coverup to be revealed wherever it leads.

  2. It sounds like a mess. Who is in the wrong: the people in charge or the people who have leaked the news?

  3. Dan
    What we dont need is more politics in the Church which is exactly what we would get with a more representative organizational construct. I stand with Pope Benedict. He is a brilliant holy man who had the complete confidence of JPII.


  4. The Orthodox model has a lot of problems too. The Orthodox faithful here in the United States have dealt with much scandal among their leaders in the last several years. There will always be tares in the wheat–even (especially?) in the Church.

  5. Ronald King says:

    It appears that with God everything must be transparent and sooner or later that which is hidden will become the focus of cleansing. The mess was already in place, we are now being made aware of it. This is a good thing.

  6. Oregon Catholic says:

    I am hoping the breath of the Holy Spirit is blowing the “smoke of satan” out of the Church. But I think things are going to get much worse before they better. Hang on tight to God and Faith.

  7. Notgiven says:

    “If this had been done by an enemy I could bear his taunts.
    If a rival had risen against me, I could hide from him.

    But it is you, my own companion, my intimate friend!
    How close was the friendship between us.
    We walked together in harmony in the house of God.

    As for me, I will cry to God and the Lord will save me.
    Evening, morning and at noon I will cry and lament.

    He will deliver my soul in peace in the attack against me:
    for those who fight me are many, but he hears my voice.” Psalm 55:13-15, 18-19

    How very sad and bitter for the Pope! God triumphs in the end, though. Blessed be God who made heaven and earth. In Him is our hope and we will never hope in vain.

  8. Notgiven says:

    “Nothing is hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.” Luke 8:17.

  9. I say Brothers and Sisters, read Psalm 80 in your prayers for it has, is, and will come to pass. The Holy Spirit is at work, times are tough now but I trust that all of this will be for a greater good. I just wish the Church would become more Catholic again, instead of trying to become some strange mix between Modernist and Protestant in its worship, if only The Pope would reinstate the Traditional Latin Mass and find a way to hasten and celebrate The New Evangelization to point the newcomers into a more Classical Catholicism. There will always be scandal and intrigue in the world, but let us remember that even though times are tough God is with us, even when we think He is far from us. I reiterate read Psalm 80 in your prayers.

  10. Let’s not forget the other shoe that dropped this past week involving the Vatican.

    Missing girl was abducted for Vatican sex parties – priest

    A teenage girl was kidnapped for Vatican sex parties by a gang involving Vatican police and foreign diplomats 30 years ago, says the Catholic Church’s leading exorcist priest, who damned Harry Potter as the “work of the Devil”.

    ­Father Gabriele Amorth was appointed by the late John Paul II as the Vatican’s chief exorcist and claims to have carried out 70,000 exorcisms. He said after one of the parties 15-year-old Emanuela Orlandi was murdered and her body disposed of.

  11. The Traditional Latin Mass has been reinstated.

  12. This Pope spent his career as the consummate “insider” and Vatican/Church politician. If all this is indeed a surprise to him, then thought has to be given to the possibility he has lost control of the machinations of his realm.

  13. This all seems very Dan Brown, maybe a little too much so…

    1. Are there really secret agents for the pope?

    “he so-called rapporteurs, Benedict’s secret agents.”

    2. The Vatican security systems are more sophisticated than those of the CIA?

    “The Vatican intelligence service has integrated security systems in the basement of the Apostolic Palace, directed by a 35-year-old ex-hacker, that are more advanced than anything the CIA has”

    At the very least this strikes me as a bit of an exaggeration, though perhaps I am simply unable to image what the operating budget of the Vatican must be.

    If the Vatican really is this tech savvy, then shame on them for not investing more in their lousy website…

    3. “My source is tormented, wanting to speak but at the same time frightened and full of doubts. No names to be published, it would put him or her at risk. There are sudden silences, suspicious glances.”

    Maybe this is just the translation from the Italian, but this seems a bit imaginative, something out of a Tom Clancy novel.

    4. “I’m not afraid.”

    This is somewhat odd to include without comment. Given the way the article starts off, the journalist is careful to note that his source is very much afraid. So is this mysterious source changed by the conversation? Or just pretending to be less nervous than he is?

    It’s a strangely written article.

  14. Notgiven says:

    It seems quite odd that someone would say the Vatican’s security system is better than what the CIA has. If it is or if it isn’t is not what makes this somewhat dubious. That someone who has knowledge of both would talk about that publicly, or privately, is highly suspect. I imagine that the person saying some of these things may be projecting.

  15. Peggy Hagen says:

    It’s a wild, unsubstantiated claim; by a man with a history of making wild, unsubstantiated claims. Nothing more.

  16. S. H. Long says:

    Please do not let this rock your faith in Christ or His Body, the Church. Yes hard times come, they also go. Stand firm, pray for Pope Benedict XVI and his intentions. He loves Christ and His Church. “Set your minds on things that are above”! Col.3:2 This is an opportunity for all Christians to stand together and hold on to all that is true and right about our faith and pray for it’s light and goodness to shine in victory over all that would bring it down. Cleave to the Trinity and pray, “Thy Will be done!”
    In San Francisco

  17. The story just keeps going on..

    Today– “butler fulling cooperating with investigators” per his lawyer
    Apparently many of released documents never made it to pope’s desk- which leads to the conclusion that Gabraele was not alone. So the investigation is turning to who had access to Secretary of State Bertone’s office.

    Deacon Greg- how soon do you think before your former colleagues on W 57th send over an “A” list correspondent to cover this continuing story in Rome?

  18. Fiergenholt says:

    Notgven: I think the facts themselves are fairly straight forward here.

    –The one governmental agency with an “open-account” to get only the very best of computer equipment is not the CIA but NSA — and those two are very different agencies.

    –Twenty years ago, the very best and brightest of the “geeks,” those with the most extraordinary skills in math, were regularly hired by NSA. NOW the best and the brightest are hired by upstart computer gaming firms at wages you would not believe!

    –It was also recently reported that a governmental engineer who desperately needed some really extraordinary computer horsepower unavailable from normal hardware sources built it himself by linking the CPU’s of several hundred PlayStation 3 gaming consoles. Large and messy looking but it was able to multi-task at incredible speeds — with parts that are “off-the-shelf” — and thus at a fraction of the cost the governmental contracting systems would have obtained.

    –That a 35 year old could create an in-house data security system that is so secure and sophisticated that the Cardinals do not trust it is not that surprising either. Almost any 35 year old is far more computer literate than any 65 year old (and may Cardinals in the Vatican are even older than that).

    –One last point. Compute usage/data entry is not really as secure as people imagine. There is a “Big Brother” in every computer system somewhere who can access anything. And EVERYTHING entered is recorded. Hand writing and hand carrying messages, while primitive, has certain genuine advantages — especially in an agency where trust is lost.

  19. friscoeddie says:

    Here is the Vatican problem… The pope has two secretaries, one butler, four nun housekeepers. How many people are needed to make oatmeal mush for an 85 year old man? Resignations and a clean house is needed now.. Basta

  20. Barbara P says:

    The Pope looks very tired and worn in the pictures from the Pentecost Mass. This is very sad and confusing.

  21. naturgesetz says:

    The secretaries are office staff. A household staff of four hardly seems excessive.

    You’re awfully mean-spirited, friscoeddie.

  22. Required summer reading: “Render Unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church” by Jason Berry. The most damaging attacks are not coming from Barack Obama or the ACLU – it is coming from the action within the walls of our Vatican.

  23. naturgesetz says:

    I don’t know what to make of all this. I hope Pope Benedict will clean up whatever mess there is.

  24. I think 2 secretaries at least is understandable, given that the pope has 1.2 billion people to talk to, and several thousand bishops with whom to be in semi-regular communication.

  25. Mean-spirited? It is much more than that.

  26. I agree with Peregrinus . My money is on George Soros and his cronies. Soros is a Hungarian Jew who convinced other Jews to board the trains to the concentration camps during WWII. George only cares about getting rich, and establishing a new world order, and views the Catholic Church as being a roadblock to his plans. He has the money to buy influence which he’s done with Obama, the democratic party, the media, and others. I suspect he’s trying to discredit our Church by discrediting the Pope and the Catholic hierarchy. I think the supposed whistleblower being interviewed is fabricating much of this to stir the pot. I think the Soros people used their money to buy one or more people in the Vatican to get a hold of documents to try and bring down the Church.

    We know that the gates of hell “shall not prevail against her” so I would pray for the Pope and our Church that we weather the storm. The truth will come out. Oh, and I would pray for George Soros too.

  27. Joe Cleary says:

    Come on Jim, seriously you are going try and make a case to pin this on Soros?
    Perhaps if he was funding a campaign for assisted suicide laws.

    Everything about this case screams “inside baseball” curia politics that are more about administration and who has or will get what curial job then doctrine.

    Sadly,BXVI does not appear to be well served by the staff he chose to run the Vatican Bank and other Curial offices.

  28. While we are all anxious to find out the truth about this sad affair, posting this sensationalized, totally unverifiable article is going to do nothing to assist in that goal.

    Fr. Lombardi, the vatican spokesperson said that the “interviews or alleged interviews’ published today in two Italian newspapers with persons claiming to be part of the Vatileaks conspiracy are “in the realm of pure imagination”, saying readers should be able to deduce that from what these supposed conspirators are saying.” He appealed for patience, sobriety and objectivity warning journalists to beware speculations that have no basis in truth.

    As for the Pope’s state of mind…no doubt he is crushed by the betrayal of certain cohorts, but as a man of profound faith, he has encountered and persevered calmly through countless crisis and will continue to do so.

    It would have been more edifying to post the pope’s own words at yesterday’s celebration of Pentecost where he said, (quite serenely I might add) the following:

    “Now it’s clearer why Babel is Babel and Pentecost is Pentecost. Where people want to become God, they succeed only in pitting themselves against each other. Where they place themselves within the Lord’s truth, on the other hand, they open themselves to the action of his Spirit which supports and unites them.”

  29. pagansister says:

    The more complicated and divided into different departments an organization is, the chances of corruption is higher. In 2000 years of existence what has come to light in this “leaking” to the world of dishonestly in this huge religious organization should perhaps come as no surprise. IMO the men who live and work in the Vatican are ambitious, or they wouldn’t be there. Have to know how to work the network, make ones self known to the right folks etc., in order to climb to the higher departments in an organization (just like the military—getting to be a general isn’t easy). Once there, having power can make even “holy” men do wrong things. Seems like they have gotten caught or will be due to some of those that found it necessary to bring things to light. Can’t all be the “butler’s” fault, IMO. However he might take the fall—-and apparently is cooperating. Yet folks will still remain loyal to the faith even with this new flaw in the headquarters of the Catholic Church, The Vatican.

  30. Where is the proof of the connection you allege?

    George Soros was born in 1930. Wikipedia has a different story about his very early life than you do.

  31. That doesn’t strike me as much at all when you consider the stature of the pope. Look up what the president of the US has as staff.

  32. All large organizations have some level of corruption, be they a religious institution, a federal government, a state government, a city government, a large corporation, the super market down the street. Wherever you have people, money, a hiearchy of status, and human interaction problems occur. We are all sinners.

  33. pagansister says:

    Exactly, Manny. There are always those in the game for their own gain.

  34. Why am I not surprised that someone laid this out as the treachery of “The Jews”? I guess since it’s 15th-Century style court intrigues happening at the Vatican we might as well re-create the entire mindset of the age as accurately as possible…..

  35. You are correct Manny. We are a church of sinners.
    However, one of the problems with reporting on this event is the characterization of the story. In the book, “Your Holiness” which published the stolen private documents of the pope, the author attempts to create the impression of rampant corruption in the church. However, most who have actually read it say that at most, it discloses disagreements between some employees on the local governance of Vatican City, but that though, distasteful, nothing rises to the level of actual corruption. Much of the innuendo is manufactured to create an impression of a return to the Borgia era …
    The real scandal, to me, is the damage done to the faithful by adults who claim to be Christians, who can’t figure out better solutions to their problems and are so weak as to fall prey to unscrupulous journalists.

  36. Uh, for the record, these are not my views. I don’t know who this Soros is and I don’t think “the Jews” are behind this…

  37. Jplacette says:

    Lets look at the facts:
    1) Personal documents were leaked to a journalist.
    2) The journalist profited from the documents.
    3) The documents revealed that there were major disagreements in government. The Vatican is a government as well as the seat of spiritual leadership in the church.

    Why is there a story here? Because the secular press has overblown the whole issue.

    Pentecost was “forgotten” – Satan won a battle.

    Let’s pull together and get back to what is really important.

  38. Jack B. Nimble says:

    While this is, for the moment an ad intra RC affair (Italian citizens may disagree) on which I (a Protestant mainline)would not normally comment, I’m repelled by the “blame it on the Jew” conspiracy nut-post on here. One can see why the good Deacon K. has thrown up his hands and banned comments for the more recent posts. Shame on those who revert to this medieval bigotry. All that is missing is a swipe at the Masons and “heretics”. All sensible RC commentary has viewed this affair as curial politics at play, and very much “inside baseball”.

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