In a rare statement after today's general audience, Pope Benedict XVI said that while he is distressed by the “Vatileaks” case, the Church will not lack God's help for the trials it encounters.
The series of events has included the arrest and prosecution of his butler for stealing and passing on to the press sensitive papal documents and the ongoing police hunt to find any accomplices.
“The events which have occurred during these days regarding the Curia and my collaborators have caused sadness in my heart, but they have never clouded a firm certainty that despite human weakness, difficulties and trials, the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit and the Lord will never be lacking in his help to sustain it in its journey,” the Pope said May 30.
In an unusual step, the Pope read a prepared statement at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square.
Paolo Gabriele, 46, was charged on May 26, with the “aggravated theft” of confidential Vatican documents found in his apartment. His arrest followed several months of so-called “Vatileaks” in which numerous confidential documents about the internal workings of the Vatican were passed on to the Italian media.
In recent days the same media outlets have speculated that Gabriele is only a minor figure in a much larger conspiracy that includes a member of the Sacred College of Cardinals. They have also theorized that the leaks are aimed at dislodging the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
“There has been a multitude of speculation boosted by some of the media which is wholly gratuitous and goes well beyond the facts, giving an image of the Holy See which is not true to reality,” the Pope said in response to the media conjecture.
Paolo Gabriele is an Italian father of three who has worked in the Papal Household under both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. He is one of very few individuals who have daily access to the Pope. Within the close-knit family atmosphere of the Papal Apartments, Gabriele is affectionately nicknamed “Paoletto” or “little Paul.”
In his statement today, Pope Benedict moved to calm the situation.
“I wish, therefore, to renew my trust in and my encouragement of my closest collaborators and all those who with faith, a spirit of sacrifice and in silence, day by day assist me in carrying out my ministry,” he said.
Meanwhile, the hunt continues for those responsible for the leaks. That task has been given to both the Vatican police and a special commission of three cardinals chaired by Spanish Cardinal Julian Herranz.