Recently, a variety of confidential Vatican documents have been leaked to the media and been used to compose books. I have only read a couple of snippets from these documents, but what is clear from the media coverage is that, while some details might be new, the overall impression just confirms what we already knew: life inside the Vatican is much like life outside the Vatican. Not everybody behaves. Even well-intentioned people make mistakes or do the wrong thing from time to time, and not everyone is well intentioned.
This should not be news to anybody. However, the Vatican deals with many delicate issues that require confidentiality in order to protect the right to privacy of those involved. Unsurprisingly (and rightly), the Holy Father formed a commission to find out who was leaking the documents, in order to stem the tide. Today’s news: the butler did it!
Now honestly, the Pope’s personal valet may well be involved, and would certainly have access to at least some of the documents that were leaked, but personally I find it highly unlikely that this layman (Paolo Gabriele) was the only one involved. I can’t help but wonder, like most other folks out there, if the authorities are focusing the attention on Gabriele to keep from implicating people of greater influence and ecclesiastical dignity.
I hope that the buck doesn’t stop there; if bishops or cardinals are involved, let it be known! I know, we don’t want to cause scandal, but to me it becomes a scandal when the culture of cover-up is allowed to continue in place. It ends up doing even more damage. Let’s set a good example – not trying to create a false image of holiness, pretending that the authorities never do anything wrong, but rather confronting problems and dealing with them honestly, ethically, equitably, and openly.
I am not suggesting we cast caution to the wind and air all the Church’s dirty laundry; there are issues that can and should be dealt with internally, especially if they are not public knowledge and do not affect a large number of people. But when there is something as public as the leaking of these documents, and the conclusion is, “the butler did it!”, the investigators better be really sure that is the whole story, or they are just generating more documents that will be crying out to be leaked.