Pope backs his deputy Bertone at centre of VatiLeaks furore

July 4, 2012

(Pope Benedict XVI arrives for a meeting with Milan's authorities and entrepreneurs, followed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone (back), at the archbishopric in Milan June 2, 2012. REUTERS/Luca Bruno/Pool )

Pope Benedict on Wednesday expressed full support for his deputy, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the chief target of leaked documents which the pontiff’s butler has been charged with stealing.

Benedict’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested at the end of May and charged with stealing the pope’s private papers. He remains locked up in a Vatican police “safe room”.

The leaked documents allege graft over the awarding of infrastructure projects and a poisonous power struggle between rival groups of cardinals – the princes of the Church.

On Wednesday, the Vatican released a letter from Benedict to Bertone, his secretary of state or prime minister, in which he said: “I wish to express my profound appreciation for your discreet support and your enlightened counsel which I have found of particular help in recent months.”

The pope, who sent the letter before heading to his summer retreat of Castel Gandolfo in the Alban hills outside Rome, added:

“Having noted with regret the unjust criticism raised against you, I want to renew the expression of my personal faith in you … which remains constant.”

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