Vatican Diary / The pope's guardian angels
This is what the gendarmes, received for the first time in audience by Benedict XVI, call themselves. But there are also those who administer justice. All of the surprises of an unprecedented judicial year, marked by Vatileaks
VATICAN CITY, January 18, 2013 – The Vatileaks affair, with the pope's butler sentenced and then pardoned for stealing confidential documents, has taught the whole world about the existence in the Vatican of a judicial system analogous to that of other states, complete with judges and lawyers, tribunals and judicial police.
In recent days, this reality has come back to the forefront with the unprecedented audience of Benedict XVI with the corps of the Vatican gendarmeria on January 11, and with the solemn inauguration of the judicial year of Vatican City-State celebrated the following day.
On the occasion of this latter event, the adjunct promoter of justice, the lawyer Pierfrancesco Grossi, cited Vatileaks only implicitly in his presentation.
He did so at the beginning of his speech, to note how “the year just concluded was particularly demanding” for “well-known” reasons, “in part because of the prominence in the mass media of criminal actions perpetrated in the territory of the State, but with effects outside of it as well.”
And he made reference to it again towards the end, in order to explain that “in relation to the well-known criminal matters” in the Vatican it was also necessary to activate the office of the “judge of criminal sentencing,” pointing out, again implicitly, that in recent times there had never been cases of defendants sentenced and imprisoned, as happened with the former butler Paolo Gabriele.
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