Pope Benedict XVI is facing the “trial” that has ensued from the leaking of his personal documents and the subsequent arrest of a member of his household on charges of possession of said stolen documents with “faith” and “a great desire to serve the Church”, said Holy See Press Office Director, Fr. Federico Lombardi Tuesday in a briefing with journalists. Emer McCarthy reports Listen:
Fr. Lombardi began the briefing by underlining that while the situation the Vatican faces is “grave” it is “neither tragic or terrible”. He then spoke of Pope Benedict’s pain at the news of the recent massacre of innocent civilians in Houla, Syria and he also relayed the Pope’s sorrow at news of another deadly earthquake Tuesday morning in Emilia Romagna, Northern Italy.
Turning then to the issue at hand, Fr. Lombardi said the second phase of investigations – whether to proceed to trail or not – is still at the preliminary stage and that the aim of the inquiry is to arrive at the truth based on the objective facts as they emerge. He told journalists that the accused, 46-year-old father of three Paolo Gabriele, is “serene”, and is collaborating with investigators and has met with his wife and defence lawyer Carlo Fusco. A first formal interrogation of the accused will take place in coming days.
Fr Lombardi rejected recent media reports that other people had been detained, and Cardinals questioned by investigators. He stressed that while the Commission of Cardinals -set up in March last by Pope Benedict to investigate a series of leaks – were speaking with various Dicastery heads and Curial officials as part of their efforts, this in no way indicated these individuals were under investigation. He added that the Commission of Cardinals led by the Spanish Cardinal Julian Herranz is not a juridical body.
Responding to a question on how the entire episode had affected the Pope, Fr. Lombardi said :“It is a great test for the Pope and the Roman Curia which we hope can be overcome with decision, by indentifying the truth and the problems”. He added: “This is the right path to follow to maintain the trust of the People of God, which the Pope fully merits”. He also appealed to journalists to reflect on the facts of the situation rather than speculation.
“Both the Pope and his collaborators in the Roman Curia are facing the situation with faith and great a desire to serve the Church”. “We are not frightened by the problems, difficulties, errors or faults that may emerge. Instead we are trying to react in a correct manner as part of a sometimes difficult journey of truth, with necessary interventions, to re-establish trust and the proper function of the government of the Church and its institutions”.