The story that the personal butler of Pope Benedict VVI, the man who helped dress him and who rode in the front seat of the “popemobile,” was person who provided documents implicating papal figures in corruption to journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi is almost too good to be true. The media is jumping all over “the butler did it” angle.

But despite Paolo Gabriele’s arrest, Philip Pullella of Reuters reports:

A priest who knows Gabriele told the newspaper La Stampa on Saturday that he was “a man of simplicity” who would not have been able to organise a campaign of leaks.

Some commentators

… speculated that he may have been a pawn in a larger, internal power struggle, the words “scapegoat”, “plot” and “conspiracy” tripping off their tongues. … “This is a strategy of tension, an orgy of vendettas and pre-emptive vendettas that has now spun out of the control of those who thought they could orchestrate it,” … Church historian Alberto Melloni wrote in the Corriere della Sera newspaper, saying it was part of a power struggle among cardinals in the Curia, the Vatican’s central administration.

Pullella concludes:

It remains to be seen if the papal butler, if he is guilty, was a lone idealistic whistleblower, or a victim of that nest.

On other words, let’s not rush to judgment and make of Paolo Gabriele either a criminal or a hero. Only time will tell if he’s the Vatican’s Bradley Manning.

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