“Radix omnium malorum cupiditas est” (“The love of money is the root of all evils”). —St. Paul, First Letter to Timothy, 6:10; a more idiomatic understanding of this phrase is, “For every possible kind of evil can be motivated by the love of money,” meaning, greed can lead to any number of different kind of evils, not that all evil is rooted in the love of money
And here we go again…
More arrests in the Vatican over leaked documents…
November in Rome begins with the news that two people who have worked in the Vatican have been arrested by Vatican police on the charge of leaking confidential Vatican documents, especially regarding Vatican finances, to journalists.
In a statement early this afternoon in Rome, the Vatican said the two — a laywoman, Doctor Francesca Chaouqui (photo here) and a Spanish monsignor, the Rev. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda (photo below) — had been questioned over the weekend, and that prosecutors for the Holy See had upheld the arrests.
The news comes on the eve of the publication of two new books about the Vatican’s finances, which promise astonishing revelations based on secret documents.
Therefore, many are speculating that these arrests are directly related to the publication of these two books, that is, that the two people arrested are suspected by the Vatican of being the sources for at least some of the documents about to be made public.
The two books are:
(1) Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi’s Merchants in the Temple. Nuzzi was the author of the famous 2012 book, His Holiness, detailing corruption and political intrigue in the Vatican of Pope Benedict. That book sparked the so-called “Vatileaks scandal,” and, some say, was one of the reasons for Benedict’s historic resignation.
(2) Italian journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi is releasing Avarice: Documents Revealing Wealth, Scandals and Secrets of Francis’ Church. Fittipaldi writes for L’Espresso newsweekly, the magazine that Sandro Magister also writes for, and which recently published the letter by 13 cardinals warning Francis about his family synod. (Interestingly, Magister is out today with an article in which he says he warned against the hiring of both Chaouqui and Vallejo Balda, whom he says is a member of the Prelature of Opus Dei; here is a link to that article (link).
So we seem to be entering into a new phase of the “Vatileaks” scandal.
We might call it “Vatileaks, Part 2.”
Both books are coming out later this week, on November 5 — so stay tuned.
Vallejo Balda is a Vatican employee; Chaouqui had served on a commission set up by Pope Francis in 2013 as part of his effort to bring about reforms in the finances of the Holy See.
The Vatican said Vallejo Balda was being held in a jail cell inside Vatican City — the cell is located just a few steps from the Domus Santa Marta where the Pope lives — and that Chaouqui released because she had cooperated in the investigation.
In the case that was called “Vatileaks,” the removal and publication of documents from Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI‘s private desk led in 2012 to the arrest and trial of the Pope’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, and of a Vatican computer technician, Claudio Sciarpelleti.
In 2013, a new Vatican law made it a crime to leak confidential documents and information.
In recent days, reports in the Italian press have said that the Vatican’s police force was investigating to see who had tampered with the computer of a top Vatican prelate who deals with financial matters.
The Vatican on Monday confirmed that there was an investigation into the tampering, but declined to say if that incident was related to the two arrests.
All of this suggests that the “Vatileaks scandal” that occurred under Pope Benedict is entering a new phase under Pope Francis.
Here is a link to an article from three years ago which may help to put some of this in perspective: (link). The central paragraph is this one: “The book’s real value lies in the fact that the ‘Paoletto’ affair [‘Paoletto,’ which means ‘Little Paul,’ refers to the butler, Paolo Gabriele] is presented within the context of a number of other events which may not be linked to the Paolo Gabriele case from a judicial point of view, but they formed the breeding ground for the Vatileaks scandal. Although the former papal butler’s sentence established that there were no accomplices or instigators involved, to believe that ‘Paoletto’ was the only bad apple in a basket full of shiny, healthy apples, is simply not realistic. Romeo’s book included chapters on the Boffo case (which could be considered the opening chapter of the ‘Vatican wars’); the case of the Vatican Secretary of State, Carlo Maria Viganò; the saga surrounding the Toniolo Institute, the ‘safe’ of Rome’s Catholic University of the Sacred Heart which caused a clash between the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and the then Archbishop of Milan, Dionigi Tettamanzi; the Vatican bank scandal and the abrupt dismissal of its president, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi.
Communiqué of the Holy See Press Office re: Arrests of Two Persons
Monday, November 2, 2015
(English translation of Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB)
As part of criminal investigations carried out by the Vatican Gendarmerie that have been underway for several months involving the removal and dissementation of news and confidential documents, last Saturday and Sunday two individuals were called in for questioining on the basis of the evidence gathered.
The individuals are an ecclesiastic, Monsignor Lucio Angel Vallegjo Balda (photos) and Doctor Francesca Chaouqui, who in the past were respectively secretary and member of COSEA (Commission charged to study and address the organization of Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See, established by the Pope in July 2013 and subsequently dissolved after the completion of its mandate).
[Msgr. Vallejo Balda’s biographical information can be found at this site:
Following the results of the interrogation, the two people were held in detention in view of the continuing investigation. Today the Office of the Promoter of Justice, Professor Advocate Gian Piero Milano, Promoter of Justice, and Professor Roberto Zannotti, Assistant Promoter of Justice, has validated the arrest of the above individuals, but they released Dr. Chaouqui, against whom there were no precautionary requirements and also due to the fact that she cooperated with the investigation.
The position of Monsignor Vallejo Balda remains under consideration of the Office of the Promoter of Justice.
One should remember that disclosure of information and confidential documents is an offense under the Law no. IX of the State of Vatican City (13 July 2013) Article 10 (art. 116 bis C.P. ).
As for the books announced for publication in the the next few days, let it be clearly stated at this time, as in the past, that such actions are [the fruit of] a serious betrayal of trust granted by the Pope and with regard to the authors, an operation that takes advantage of a serioiusly unlawful act unlawful delivery of confidential documents – an operation whose legal implications and possibly penalties are under study by the Office of the Promoter of Justice in view of possible further measures that will involve international cooperation. if necessary. Publications of this kind do not contribute in any way to establish clarity and truth, but rather to create confusion and partial and tendentious interpretations. We must absolutely avoid the mistake of thinking that this is a way to help the mission of the Pope.
Comunicato della Sala Stampa
Nel quadro di indagini di polizia giudiziaria svolte dalla Gendarmeria vaticana ed avviate da alcuni mesi a proposito di sottrazione e divulgazione di notizie e documenti riservati, sabato e domenica scorsi sono state convocate due persone per essere interrogate sulla base degli elementi raccolti e delle evidenze raggiunte.
Si tratta di un ecclesiastico, Mons. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, e della Dott.ssa Francesca Chaouqui, che in passato erano stati rispettivamente segretario e membro della COSEA (Commissione referente di Studio e indirizzo sull’organizzazione delle Strutture Economico-Amministrative della Santa Sede, istituita dal Papa nel luglio 2013 e successivamente sciolta dopo il compimento del suo mandato).
In seguito alle risultanze degli interrogatori queste due persone sono state trattenute in stato di arresto in vista del proseguimento delle indagini. Nella giornata odierna l’Ufficio del Promotore di Giustizia, nelle persone del prof. Avv. Gian Piero Milano, Promotore di Giustizia, e prof. Avv. Roberto Zannotti, Promotore di Giustizia aggiunto, ha convalidato l’arresto dei predetti, provvedendo a rimettere in stato di libertà la Dott.ssa Chaouqui, nei confronti della quale non sono più state ravvisate esigenze cautelari, anche a motivo della sua collaborazione alle indagini.
La posizione di Mons. Vallejo Balda rimane al vaglio dell’Ufficio del Promotore di Giustizia.
Si deve ricordare che la divulgazione di notizie e documenti riservati è un reato previsto dalla Legge n. IX dello Stato della Città del Vaticano (13 luglio 2013) art. 10 (art. 116 bis c.p.).
Quanto ai libri annunciati per i prossimi giorni va detto chiaramente che anche questa volta, come già in passato, sono frutto di un grave tradimento della fiducia accordata dal Papa e, per quanto riguarda gli autori, di una operazione per trarre vantaggio da un atto gravemente illecito di consegna di documentazione riservata, operazione i cui risvolti giuridici ed eventualmente penali sono oggetto di riflessione da parte dell’Ufficio del Promotore in vista di eventuali ulteriori provvedimenti, ricorrendo, se del caso, alla cooperazione internazionale. Pubblicazioni di questo genere non concorrono in alcun modo a stabilire chiarezza e verità, ma piuttosto a generare confusione e interpretazioni parziali e tendenziose. Bisogna assolutamente evitare l’equivoco di pensare che ciò sia un modo per aiutare la missione del Papa.
What is the glory of God?
“The glory of God is man alive; but the life of man is the vision of God.” —St. Irenaeus of Lyons, in the territory of France, in his great work Against All Heresies, written c. 180 A.D.