Vatican City

Vatican shuns own expert opinion in pope's butler indictment

'Gabriele needed attention, affection' says psych evaluation

Vatican shuns own expert opinion in pope's butler indictment

(ANSA) - Vatican City, August 14 - Pope Benedict XVI's butler Paolo Gabriele has been sent to trial for aggravated theft of secret Church documents based on a Rome-based professor's expert opinion, after magistrates shunned that of a leading Vatican psychiatrist who stated he was incapable of intent, according to the case dossier. In order to decide whether the pontiff's assistant was fit to stand trial, the report says that Vatican magistrates commissioned leading psychologists to draw up profiles of Gabriele, relying on top experts in the field of psychiatry. The first was drawn up by Professor Roberto Tatarelli of Rome's La Sapienza university and stated he was fit to stand trial. The second profile, which drew the conclusion that Gabriele was incapable of intent, was prepared by Professor Tonino Cantelmi of the Vatican's Gregorian University, according to documents signed by Judge Piero Bonnet. Vatican Judges Nicola Picardi and Bonnet chose to select Tatarelli's opinion over Cantelmi's and proceeded to indict the butler. Gabriele's arrest on May 25 shocked the Catholic world after months of sensitive Church correspondences surfacing in the Italian media. His layer says he acted alone, but magistrates announced Monday they had indicted IT expert Claudio Sciarpelletti to stand trial alongside Gabriele for aiding and abetting. There is speculation among Vatican experts and the media that Gabriele is a pawn of a power struggle between cardinals, with many suggesting Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, the pope's right-hand man, being the intended target. According to the dossier, Gabriele told prosecutors that "evil and corruption everywhere in the Church" had prompted him to act. "I reached the point of no return," he is quoted as saying. "I was sure that a shock, perhaps by using the media, could be a healthy way to put the Church back on the right track". Tatarelli's profile states Gabriele is "affected by paranoid ideation in the context of persecution fears". His personality, the expert said, is fragile and insecure, and characterized by a profound need for attention and affection from others, and as such can be subject to manipulation. Tatarelli in his report said the evident psychological issues do not mean Gabriele is not responsible for his own actions. These conditions, in fact, do not mean that "there is a psychological disorder of such gravity that it abolishes the conscience and the freedom of controlling one's own actions," Tatarelli concluded in the report. According to Cantelmi's contrasting opinion, Garbiele's personality is affected by an incomplete and unstable identity, by suggestibility, by feelings of grandeur, by an altered moral rigidity and by a pervasive need to be appreciated and respected. The "deformations in Gabriele's ideation processes" mean he is incapable of intent, the expert concludes.

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