Disinfonauts who have been following the rise and fall of Pope Benedict XVI may be interested in “The Pope and the Spy Who Loved Him“, a recent story from GQ featuring characters and intrigues that could rival any novel by Dan Brown or his ilk. The popular media has painted the Pope’s former butler Paolo Gabriele as a simpleton and common thief, but the portrait painted in the GQ article is of a faithful Catholic driven to betrayal by his conscience.
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In the narrative of the Vatican leaks, Gabriele has been cast as the punch-line villain (the butler did it!), a possibly delusional simpleton who betrayed the Church and the Holy Father, albeit out of misguided altruism. Yet he is also an unlikely villain.
Gabriele grew up in a middle-class neighborhood three metro stops west of Vatican City, but his eventual employment there was a matter of either happenstance or divinity, depending on the degree of one’s faith.