Vatican trial of five over leaks gets under way

Monsignor and two writers among those accused of confidential document theft

Writers Gianluigi Nuzzi (right) and Emiliano Fittipaldi. Photograph: AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, Luca Bruno, file

Writers Gianluigi Nuzzi (right) and Emiliano Fittipaldi. Photograph: AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, Luca Bruno, file

 

For the second time in three years, the Holy See this morning sees the opening of a Vatican City trial investigating the internal theft of confidential documents. The so-called Vatileaks 2 trial sees five people indicted – Spanish monsignor Lucio Angel Vallegjo Balda, his Italian lay assistant Nicola Maio, lay consultant Francesca Chaouqui and writers Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi.

The pair both published books this month – Merchants in the Temple by Nuzzi and Greed by Fittipaldi – which outlined not only the mismanagement of the Holy See’s finances but also the resistance of elements in the Roman Curia (and elsewhere) to the reform process instigated by Pope Francis.

Summer investigation

Many commentators believe the haste with which this trial is being conducted is because Pope Francis wants the affair resolved as soon as possible so it will not drag on into celebrations for the Holy Year of Mercy. Some observers argue the trial may be over before the Holy Year starts on December 8th, Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Criminal conspiracy

Paolo Gabriele

Both authors argue the Vatican legislation under which they will be tried is totally anti-democratic in that it does not recognise basic freedom of opinion but rather intends to punish those who “procure” confidential Vatican documents.