Monday, August 13, 2012

All my eye and Betty Martin

In Agatha Christie`s short story Strange Jest  in Miss Marple`s Final Cases, one of the big clues towards solving the case is when Miss Marple explains an old English expression which was uttered by an old uncle shortly before his death:
" "Surely, my dear, you must have heard the expression meaning that something is not a true picture, or has it quite died out nowadays: 'All my eye and Betty Martin.' " 

Agatha Christie was very fond of the expression. It figured in several of her novels.

The phrase means "nonsense". It may be a corruption of an old Latin prayer Ora pro mihi beate Martine (“Pray for me, Blessed Martin”)  or even Ora pro mihi beata Mater (“Pray for me, Blessed Mother”)  
[Blessed Martin is apparently St Martin of Tours]

It would therefore  seem an apt comment about the Press coverage of the revelations about the Pope`s former Butler in the Vatican, Sig Paolo Gabriele

Like many news agencies the BBC  has spun the line that Sig Gabriele stole the documents from the Papal apartments because he was a whistleblower determined to uproot "evil and corruption everywhere in the church" while the pope was "not sufficiently informed". 

Yet this line is still being peddled despite the fact that the Magistrate`s indictment has now been served on the Butler and more facts are emerging about What the Butler Saw and Did

"According to the [indictment], a 100,000 euro cheque belonging to the Pope was recovered from Mr Gabriele's apartment during the investigation, as well as a gold nugget and a 1581 Italian translation of Virgil's classic poem Aeneid by Annibale Caro, both of which were gifts to the Pontiff.  
During his questioning, Mr Gabriele allegedly insisted he "meant to give back" the items, that he had also written to the Pope expressing his "sorrow" and adding that he had not received "any money or other benefits" insisting that he had acted to "keep the Holy Father informed of certain facts and events."

Not one of the Vatican`s friends, The New York Times reports:
"The indictment also said that a search of Mr. Gabriele’s apartment at the Vatican had found other purloined items there besides documents, including a check for 100,000 euros ($123,000) made out to the pope, a golden nugget, and a 16th century translation of Virgil’s Aeneid.  
The indictment said Mr. Gabriele told investigators that he might have removed those items from the pope’s offices in “the degeneration of my disorder.”

Ora pro nobis  beate Martine. Ora pro nobis beata Mater


Sandro Magiter in Chiesa has more important information about the indictment

He has published the full indictment (in Italian)

In English, he also gives rather interesting facts about the startling breaches of trust effected by the butler and his outright denials when first confronted about the leaks


The discovery of the culprit turns out to be particularly dramatic. The book with the leaked documents had been on sale in Italy for two days when, on May 21, there was a meeting of the entire "pontifical family": Msgr. Gänswein; the pope's second secretary, Alfred Xuereb; the four Memores Domini sisters; the pope's other assistant, Birgit Wansing; and the butler, Paolo. 
Each of those present denied having given any papers to the author of the book. Msgr. Gänswein confronted the butler, showing him documents that had gone into the book and had passed through none other than his hands. But he continued to deny it. 
But in the meantime, the investigators of the Vatican secret service had accumulated hard evidence against Gabriele. On May 23, the "pontifical family" met again, and Msgr. Gänswein told Gabriele that he had been suspended from his position pending the outcome of the investigation. 
Gabriele proclaimed his innocence once again. He even accused those present of unjustly wanting to turn him into a "scapegoat." He said that he had the comfort of his spiritual director. ....


In the judgment of Msgr. Gänswein and of the Memores Domini sisters, Gabriele was a very devout person. Each morning he attended the Mass celebrated by the pope. But he did not excel at his job: "He always needed to be directed and guided." But he was believed to be honest and loyal, and precisely for this reason he was allowed to "follow the flow of documents" that passed "across the desk of Msgr. Gänswein or were lying on the shelf in front of it." 
And from there – he later admitted during questioning – he took documents, photocopied them, and brought home the copies, which he finally delivered to the author of the book. ..."

His denials and his attempts to falsely accuse others of lying against him do undermine the credibility of his claims that he acted out of the highest motives to expose crime and corruption in the heart of the Church and begin the process of reform.

Unfortunately it would also appear that indeed he may not have acted  alone. His spiritual adviser is being accused by the butler of giving him rather strange counsel:

Gabriele's spiritual director, indicated as witness B, is another of the disconcerting characters of the affair. Gabriele also delivered to him a series of documents, collected in a box with the pontifical seal. Questioned by the judges, the spiritual director said that he had received them, knew of their dishonest provenance, and therefore burned them without reading them. 
But Gabriele also said – during an interrogation on July 21 – that it had been his spiritual director himself who had advised him to deny any blame, in the dramatic face-to-face with Msgr. Gänswein on May 21: "My spiritual father told me not to acknowledge my responsibility in this, unless I were asked by the Holy Father himself."