VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI broke his silence Wednesday over the leaked documents scandal that has convulsed the Vatican, saying he was saddened by the betrayal but grateful to those aides who work faithfully and in silence to help him do his job.
Benedict made his first public comments on the scandal in remarks at the end of his weekly general audience. He lashed out at some of the media reports about the scandal, saying that the exaggerated and gratuitous rumors had offered a false image of the Holy See.
The Italian media have been in a frenzy ever since the pope’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested last week after Vatican investigators discovered papal documents in his Vatican City apartment. He remains in detention and has pledged to cooperate fully with the investigation.
Rumors have been flying in the media about cardinals possibly being implicated in the investigation, pending resignations, and details of the inquiry that even Gabriele’s lawyers say they have not heard. The Vatican spokesman has spent much of his daily briefings in recent days shooting down the reports.
The scandal represents one of the greatest breaches of trust and security for the Holy See in recent memory given that a significant number of documents from the pope’s own desk were leaked to an investigative journalist. The Vatican has denounced the leaks as criminal and immoral and has opened a three-pronged investigation to get to the bottom of who was responsible.