The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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October 3, 2012

Vatican police testify in trial of pope's butler



The Vatican said the man had refused offers to meet with government ministers if he came down.

Inside the tribunal, Vatican police inspector Silvano Carli told the court Wednesday that of the hundreds of thousands of papers seized from Gabriele's home — they filled 82 boxes — about 1,000 were of interest since they were original or photocopied Vatican documents.

Some came from the pope's office, some carried the processing codes of the secretariat of state, others originated in various Vatican congregations "and some documents concerned the total privacy and private life of the Holy Father," said police officer Stefano De Santis.

He said some of the originals carried the pope's handwriting with a note to destroy them written in German. Some were reproduced in Nuzzi's book "His Holiness: Pope Benedict XVI's secret papers," he said.

The vast majority of the documents concerned esoteric religious issues and academic research into Freemasonry, Christianity, Buddhism, yoga and politicians, as well as the Vatican bank, the officers said.

"'See how much I like to read and study,'" De Santis quoted Gabriele as telling the officers during the May 23 search of his home, which resulted in his arrest.

The Vatican police, who protect the pope alongside the Swiss Guards, emphasized the vast amount of documentation found, listing the subject matter in virtually the same order even though they hadn't heard each other's testimony.

Vatican police vice commissioner Luca Cintia was also questioned about his participation in the May 23 search, but he asked to address the court about allegations that Gabriele had been subject to improper detention conditions.

Gabriele attorney Cristiana Arru says her client spent his first 20 days in detention in a cell where he couldn't stretch his arms fully and where the lights were kept on 24 hours a day.

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