Vatican Radio REPORTS: Pope Benedict XVI greeted the religious and civil authorities of Castel Gandolfo on Saturday morning in the Apostolic Palace in the resort town where Pope Benedict XVI spent the summer months. Pope Benedict said the period at Castel Gandolfo had been one of study, prayer and rest, during which he noted with admiration the care and concern of all involved in giving assistance and hospitality to him, his colleagues, and all the guests and Pilgrims who travel to the resort town to meet him. The Holy Father had thanks and greetings for the bishop of Albano, Marcello Semeraro, for the pastor of Castel Gandolfo, and for the religious communities and lay groups, in the area: he invited them all to continue to make him feel their spiritual closeness even after his departure, as they have during his stay. Pope Benedict also thanked the civil authorities of Castel Gandolfo in the person of the Mayor, Maurizio Colacchi, promising to pray for him, for his colleagues in government and for the entire community, especially for families in need and for the sick. The Pope had special thanks for the police and military forces that provide security and transportation during his stay at the Papal summer retreat. These include the Corps of Papal Gendarmes, the Italian State Police, the Swiss Guard and the 31st Squadron of the Italian Air Force. The Pope prayed that the Lord might reward them all with abundant heavenly gifts, and watch over them and their families.
(Vatican Radio) – The
trial against former Papal butler, Paolo Gabriele and Secretary of State
employee Claudio Sciarpelletti opened on Saturday, during which the Vatican
Court ruled that the accused will be tried separately on charges of aggravated
theft of private documents and aiding and abetting a crime, respectively.
The trial is linked to the leaking of the Holy Father’s personal and
private documents to Italian press, which first came to light in March last.
Emer McCarthy reports Listen:
opening session was preceded by a consultation in Council Chambers among the
three presiding judges that lasted over an hour, during which they discussed
pre-trial requests presented by the defense.
46 year-old Gabriele was
present at the session. Sciarpelletti was represented by his attorney. Nine of
the thirteen witnesses called to testify were present. The Pope’s personal
secretary Msgr. Georg Gänswein was among those absent because of prior official
commitments. Eight journalists where also present to follow court
The trial itself got underway in the small Vatican
Courtroom, when President of the Vatican Tribunal, Giuseppe dalla Torre, read
the list of charges. Attorneys for the defence then presented their clients
Sciarpelletti attorney’s Gianluca Benedetti began by filing a
“not guilty” plea for his client who was absent – according to the lawyer - due
to unspecified "unexpected reasons”. Benedetti noted the lesser gravity of the
charge against his client and presented a motion for a separate trial, which was
accepted by the Court. This will take place at a later unspecified
The judges then proceeded to throw out requests presented by Paolo
Gabriele’s defense attorney Cristiana Arru. She had asked the Court to allow as
evidence the results of a separate investigation by the Commission of Cardinals,
convoked earlier this year by Pope Benedict XVI, to investigate the broader
implications of the leaks.
The Court ruled that the results of the
investigation were reserved to Pope Benedict and cannot be counted as evidence.
Judge dalla Torre emphasized that trial evidence will be solely based on the
results of the investigation carried out in Vatican City State by Vatican City
State police and prosecutors.
The Court also rejected the pre-trial plea
for a ruling on "Sub secreto pontificio"; in short evidence that is
subject to Pontifical secret. The Court observed that this is not part of the
criminal code of Vatican City State.
Instead the Court confirmed the
legality of the installation of cameras near Gabriele’s house by Vatican police
and upheld Arru’s request for the removal from the body of evidence of two
interrogations of Paolo Gabriele which had been conducted by the head of the
Vatican Police Domenico Giani, without the presence of a lawyer.
objections raised by Arru are pending; such as the issue of the 82 boxes of
different sizes, seized in Gabriele’s house as well as objections relating to
the way the search was carried out.
The trial has been adjourned until
Tuesday, when Paolo Gabriele is due to take the stand. Should he be found guilty
he could face up to a maximum four years in prison.
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