The Straits Times
Published on Sep 29, 2012

Pope's butler goes on trial in 'Vatileaks' scandal


VATICAN CITY (AFP) - Pope Benedict XVI's former butler Paolo Gabriele goes on trial on Saturday for leaking confidential Vatican memos that revealed cloak-and-dagger politics among the pope's closest aides.

A once loyal servant who said he grew disgusted by the "evil and corruption" he witnessed, Mr Gabriele told investigators he was acting as an "agent" of the Holy Spirit to help the pope put a weary Catholic Church back on track.

Mr Gabriele faces up to four years in prison for aggravated theft in a trial that is unprecedented in the modern history of the world's smallest state.

Using the codename "Maria", he is accused of meeting investigative reporter Gianluigi Nuzzi earlier this year and passing him copies of secret papers.