Christian growth in the heart of Islam; Kazakhstan; and the butler’s trial

National Catholic Reporter

by John L Allen Jr on Sep. 28, 2012 All Things Catholic …

Tomorrow, the Vatican’s “trial of the century” begins. Paolo Gabriele, the 46-year-old former butler to Pope Benedict XVI, is charged with aggravated theft for allegedly being the mole at the heart of the Vatileaks scandal. (Also on trial is another former lay Vatican employee, Claudio Sciarpelletti, who faces a more minor charge.)

Italian news agencies are reporting that among the potential witnesses are Msgr. Georg Gänswein, the pope’s personal secretary, and the four consecrated women belonging to Memores Domini, part of the Communion and Liberation movement, who make up Benedict’s private household. They were interviewed during the preliminary investigation, and it will apparently be up to both the prosecution and the defense to decide whether they’re called to testify during the trial itself.

The $64,000 question, of course, is whether others were involved in the leaks, and if so, who are they? Whether the trial will deliver a convincing answer remains to be seen, but based on conversations with colleagues during Benedict’s recent trip to Lebanon, it seems clear that most of the world’s vaticanisti (for sure, the Italians) are convinced that the Gabriele trial — not the Synod of Bishops for the New Evangelization, not the “Year of Faith” or anything else — is destined to be this fall’s blockbuster Vatican story.

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