More Vatican Leaks Result in Two Arrests

Pope Francis (L) adjusts crowns on a statue of the Virgin Mary during an audience to the participants in the pilgrimage of Gypsies, on October 26, 2015 at Paul VI audience hall at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read
Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Two former members of the economic commission entrusted with overseeing the reform of the Vatican Bank are accused of handing over confidential documents in what is being called Act 2 of the Vatileaks scandal.

The Vatican police force or “gendarmerie” detained Monsignor Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda and Francesca Chaouqui, a laywoman, who were members of committee put together by Pope Francis in July 2013 to address the organization of economic and administrative structures of the Holy See. The committee was subsequently dissolved after the fulfillment of its mandate.

In an official statement, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said that over the weekend “two people were brought in for questioning” on the basis of the evidence gathered by Vatican police.

“Following the results of the interrogation,” Lombardi continues, “the two people were held in detention in view of the continuation of the investigation.”

Francesca Chaouqui was subsequently released, while Msgr. Vallejo is still in custody.

In his statement, Lombardi called to mind that “disclosure of information and confidential documents is an offense under the Law no. IX of Vatican City State.”

The Vatican spokesman also made reference to two books due for publication in coming days also based on the revelation of confidential internal Vatican documents, calling them “a serious betrayal of the Pope’s trust” taking advantage of a gravely illegal act of handing over confidential documents.” Lombardi said that the legal implications of the theft are currently being studied.

“Publications of this kind do not contribute in any way to establish clarity and truth,” he added, “but only create confusion and through partial and tendentious interpretations.”

The two books are called “Via Crucis” by Gianluigi Nuzzi, and “Avarice” by Emiliano Fittipaldi, and will be released simultaneously on November 5. Nuzzi is also the author of the book “His Holiness,” based on leaks of private documents that Pope Benedict’s butler stole from his desk.

One of the phrases that Nuzzi reportedly attributes to Pope Francis in his book reads: “If we cannot take care of money, which is visible, how are we going to care for the souls of the faithful, which are invisible?”

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