Interview with Ingrid Stampa by the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera of Milan (October 7, 2012).
Ingrid Stampa is sometimes referred to as “the Pope’s former housekeeper,” but she is much more than that. She is a scholar of medieval music and a bass viola teacher, and she has edited and translated many of Joseph Ratzinger’s works. When the German newspaper Die Welt traced the root of the “Vatileaks” affair to an “atmosphere of envy” in the Vatican, going so far as to name her as one of the “envious,” some said she had fallen into disgrace and been driven out of the secretariat of state. But Stampa still works in the secretariat of state and she has edited and translated Benedict XVI’s long-awaited third volume of Jesus of Nazareth, as she has edited and translated the other two. This news seemed to confirm the Pope’s continued trust in his long-time collaborator.
What do you think about this entire affair, Professor Stampa?
Ingrid Stampa: Had Paolo Gabriele informed me about what he was doing, I would have told him to stop. Maybe we could have found another way. If he had any worries, he could have talked about them to the Holy Father, maybe I could have done it for him… But he should not have done what he did.
What about the “atmosphere of envy”?
Stampa: When I read this report, I was upset, I couldn’t accept it, but restored my inner peace in one day. It’s simply ridiculous, just a pack of lies. Slander.
Who does the slander come from?
Stampa: You see, I know who is responsible for this article. But since I am a spiritual person, a woman of faith, I have been praying for him since I got to know about this affair.
But Gabriele said he had been influenced by a certain situation in the papal curia, and he referred, during the trial, among others, to you [as someone who shared his concerns]…
Stampa: I don’t know, I hope he’ll be given the opportunity to make his reasons and position clear. All I can say is that, as far as I have been able to make out from my talks with him, Paolo Gabriele has a great love for and a high opinion of the Pope and the Church.
But he did damage, didn’t he?
Stampa: He definitely did damage to the Holy Father and the Church, but I don’t think he did it on purpose. Even his wife didn’t know anything of what he was doing. Had he talked to anyone, all this could have been avoided.
Do you know him well?
Stampa: I was not particularly close to him. I met him because I am admitted to the papal apartments once a week. They even said that we met every day, but we didn’t.
At a certain point we got to live in the same building: Paolo Gabriele’s family lives two floors upstairs from me.
I expected that we would become closer. But owing to our engagements, we didn’t have much chance to keep in touch.
I began to see Gabriele’s family after his arrest; as a Christian I felt it my duty to help his wife and children.
I met a nice family, a good family. The children pray for their father and for all those who hate him.
Do you think he was manipulated?
Stampa: As far as I know, Gabriele is a man who enjoys studying on his own. I imagine that he collected all that material to form an opinion about the situation. I have a feeling that he did everything without anybody’s help.
A sort of obsession?
Stampa: I wouldn’t say so. Gabriele is a man highly capable of reasoning, observation and judgement. Apart from this I can’t say any more, I hardly keep abreast of this affair.