Oct 7, 2012

Gabriele Convicted for Blowing the Whistle

Am I alone in seeing something almost poetic in the fact that the first whistleblower convicted in the Vatileaks scandal, Paolo Gabriele, bears the name of the Archangel Gabriel? Gabriel, the messenger of God who announced the pending births of Jesus and John the Baptist? Gabriel, depicted in art and literature as the angel who will blow his horn come judgment day? If I were Pope Benedict, I'd be more concerned than ever about that Fatima prophecy.

Be that as it may, the verdict is in and the Vatican court is satisfied that the butler did it. Gabriele, manservant to the pontiff, was sentenced to eighteen months for hanging the Church's dirty laundry out to dry. It seems he believed sunlight to be the best disinfectant.

Gabriele slipped internal documents, including some of Pope Benedict's private papers, to journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi.

Nuzzi's book, "His Holiness: Pope Benedict XVI's Secret Papers" convulsed the Vatican for months and prompted an unprecedented response, with the pope naming a commission of cardinals to investigate the origin of the leaks alongside Vatican magistrates.

Gabriele insists he was only trying to save the Church from itself.

Gabriele has said he leaked the documents because he felt the pope wasn't being informed of the "evil and corruption" in the Vatican, and that exposing the problems publicly would put the church back on the right track.

. . .

"The thing I feel strongly in me is the conviction that I acted out of exclusive love, I would say visceral love, for the church of Christ and its visible head," Gabriele told the court in a steady voice. "I do not feel like a thief."

During the trial Gabriele claimed to have acted alone. But on other occasions he claimed that he was anything but. He alleged that there were at least twenty whistleblowers who, like himself, "want to help bring some transparency."

There's a fierce irony in the Vatican's aggressive investigation into Vatileakers like Gabriele. After decades of equivocating over whether or not child molesting priests should be turned over to the authorities, they brought the hammer down over some letters. The Church takes its secrecy very seriously.

Gabriele will serve out his sentence in his apartment, under house arrest. That is, unless the Pope decides to pardon him. Sources say this is likely and it might make His Holiness look like something other than a complete hypocrite. A wise leader, might also want to heed the message, rather than kill the messenger.

Well, it's Gabriel, Gabriel playin'!
Gabriel, Gabriel sayin'
"Will you be ready to go
When I blow my horn?"

Oh, blow, Gabriel, blow,
Go on and blow, Gabriel, blow!
I've been a sinner, I've been a scamp,
But now I'm willin' to trim my lamp,
So blow, Gabriel, blow!

Oh, I was low, Gabriel, low,
Mighty low, Gabriel, low.
But now since I have seen the light,
I'm good by day and I'm good by night,
So blow, Gabriel, blow!

~ From "Blow, Gabriel Blow" in Anything Goes

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