The Straits Times
Published on Sep 27, 2012

Vatican readies for historic trial of pope's butler


VATICAN CITY (AFP) - Pope Benedict XVI's former butler goes on trial on Saturday for leaking secret papers in the Vatican's biggest court drama in decades, revealing intrigue at the heart of the Catholic Church.

Paolo Gabriele was one of the people closest to the 85-year-old pope, serving him meals every day and accompanying him on extensive foreign travels before his shock arrest for passing confidential documents to a journalist.

The arrest in May rattled the close-knit community of the Vatican where Gabriele resided with his wife and three children - a world hidden behind the Vatican walls where the butler said he saw rampant "evil and corruption".

The 46-year-old told investigators that he thought of himself as an "agent" of the Holy Spirit acting to help the pope by revealing apparent fraud in the daily running of the Vatican and rows over prestigious nominations.