Priest Sits in Vatican Jail Cell, Accused of Leak

An Italian laywoman was also arrested
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 2, 2015 11:44 AM CST
Priest Sits in Vatican Jail Cell, Accused of Leak
Pope Francis blesses the altar as he celebrates a mass in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, May 24, 2015.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

In 2013, Pope Francis created a financial reform commission, one disbanded a year later having "carried out its mandate," as the New York Times puts it. Today, a Spanish priest who served on that commission sits in a Vatican City jail cell, as one of two people arrested on the suspicion of leaking confidential documents, reports the AP. Monsignor Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda and Francesca Chaouqui, an Italian laywoman, were taken into custody and questioned over the weekend. Chaouqui was released after cooperating in the probe. Vatican Radio translated a press release from the Holy See on the matter, which states in part, "It must be remembered that divulging confidential documents is a crime under the criminal code of the Vatican City State."

The release goes on to address two exposé books written by Italian journalists that are to be published this week: "They are the result of a serious betrayal of the trust placed in certain individuals by the Pope, and, as far as the authors are concerned, of an operation to draw advantage from a gravely unlawful act." The AP points out that the Vatican didn't explicitly say whether the arrests had any connection to the books. One, Merchants in the Temple by Gianluigi Nuzzi, is said, among other things, to reveal to readers documents and recordings of internal discussions that expose why Pope Benedict resigned, reports the AP. Nuzzi in 2012 released His Holiness, which was followed by the arrest of the pope's butler, who was convicted of leaking documents to Nuzzi and later pardoned. (More Vatican stories.)

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