VATICAN CITY - Christmas in St. Peter's Square this year has a particularly southern Italian flavor with a towering tree from the Molise region and a Nativity scene donated by the Basilicata region.

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VATICAN CITY - New rules issued by Pope Benedict XVI for the governance of Catholic charities will not prevent such charities from accepting government funding,

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican praised a United Nations vote making Palestine a non-member observer state but called for full recognition of Palestinian sovereignty as necessary for peace in the region.

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VATICAN CITY - On the eve of his first trip to the Holy Land as grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, Cardinal Edwin O’Brien said he hoped to encourage the region’s Christian minority with a message of solidarity from Pope Benedict XVI and other Catholics in the West.

“The Church in the Holy Land has been under unfriendly domination throughout the centuries, and the fact that we still exist there is almost a miracle,” O’Brien told Catholic News Service Nov. 24. “We have to do everything we can as a Catholic people to encourage them and to let them know that we are one with them in their struggle.”

The cardinal left Rome Nov. 26 for a weeklong pilgrimage whose itinerary was to include Jerusalem, Bethlehem, West Bank, and Amman, Jordan. He was scheduled to meet with Jerusalem’s Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal, who serves as the order’s grand prior, and other Catholic, Orthodox and Muslim leaders.

The cardinal also planned to visit a few of the more than 100 institutions that the knights support in the region, including parishes, schools and Bethlehem University.

O’Brien was not planning to visit the Gaza Strip and said he did not expect the recent fighting there to affect his visit, which was planned almost a year ago. But he noted that Twal has been on the “frontlines” in aiding victims of the violence there. Eight days of Israeli airstrikes, launched in retaliation for rocket attacks by Palestinian militants, killed more than 150 people and destroyed thousands of dwellings in Gaza before both sides agreed to a ceasefire Nov. 21.

“The Church does not take one side or the other” in the conflict, the cardinal said, “but simply says, do whatever we have to do to bring about peace and a secure way of living for all the people in that land that Christ walked.”

O’Brien noted that the Church’s charitable and educational activities in the Holy Land often serve a greater number of Muslims than Christians, which he said helped the cause of peace. He particularly noted the contribution of Christian Brothers-run Bethlehem University, in the West Bank, to interreligious harmony.

“More than half the students over the years have not been Christian,” the cardinal said. “And they graduate to leading positions in the Holy Land. Their gratitude to the Church and their influence in building bridges between Islam and Christianity, we just can’t measure the worth of that.

“We don’t do it so that we can get credit,” he said. “We do it so that the dignity of every human being will be developed to its highest potential. Bethlehem University, Madaba University, our high schools — all the good work that our people far away are doing to support these institutions is going to pay great dividends in the decades ahead.”

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VATICAN CITY - The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments is establishing an office to promote the development and use of appropriate liturgical art, architecture and music.

The new office was approved in early September by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state; final arrangements and the designation of personnel are being made, said Marist Father Anthony Ward, undersecretary of the congregation.

The office will provide advice, encouragement and guidance, he said, but it will not attempt to impose specific styles.

"The church has always adopted local artistic, architectural and music styles," Father Ward told Catholic News Service Nov. 14. At the same time, as the Second Vatican Council taught, "it always has emphasized Gregorian chant as the homegrown music of the Latin rite."

While the Pontifical Council for Culture promotes efforts in the area of sacred art and music, the congregation's new office will focus specifically on art, architecture and music used for Mass and other formal moments of prayer.

The Second Vatican Council document on the liturgy said, "The church has not adopted any particular style of art as her very own; she has admitted styles from every period according to the natural talents and circumstances of peoples, and the needs of the various rites."

It called for the preservation of the great liturgical art of the past and the encouragement of modern artists to create pieces appropriate for Catholic worship, "provided that it adorns the sacred buildings and holy rites with due reverence and honor."

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VATICAN CITY - The international community must get serious about enforcing humanitarian laws that make it possible to secure or destroy explosive devices leftover from a war before those devices harm innocent civilians or fall into the hands of terrorists, a Vatican official said.

Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, the Vatican's representative to U.N. agencies in Geneva, addressed a U.N. conference reviewing compliance with an international agreement on the restriction and use of certain conventional weapons; the conference was held in Geneva Nov. 12-13.

The focus of the conference was on laws dealing with the tracking and disposal of "explosive remnants of war," such as landmines and roadside bombs.
Failure to implement the agreement, Archbishop Tomasi said, has meant that many explosive weapons are not monitored during a conflict or removed after a conflict ends. As a result, they fall into the hands of terrorist groups and criminal organizations, and pose a threat to innocent civilians, he said.

Any hesitation in documenting or removing the explosive remnants of war, the archbishop said, "means more victims and bigger economic and social costs, and long-term hampering of development."

In past and present conflicts, civilians' safety has not been a priority, and "international humanitarian law was merely a set of non-respected rules," he said.
Archbishop Tomasi called for full adherence to the international agreements and international cooperation in monitoring compliance. "This is the only way to protect the civilian population, and in some cases the national community as a whole, from the consequences of explosive remnants of war."

The international community has a moral responsibility to protect civilians from explosive weapons during and after conflicts, the archbishop said. "Civilians should not have to pay twice for the absence of a secure, free and peaceful environment."

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The absolute frontline in the prevention of crime is the family, a top Vatican official told members of Interpol, the international police organization.

To prevent crime and violence, societies must educate citizens about their own dignity and the value of each human life, promote solidarity and instill a sense of justice in society -- all values that can be learned earliest and best in the family, said Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican's secretary for relations with states.

The archbishop spoke to members of Interpol holding their general assembly Nov. 5-8 in Rome.

The 190 country-members of Interpol not only coordinate crime-fighting efforts, but also work together on crime prevention programs.

An increase of crime, particularly brutally violent crime, around the world calls for even greater preventative actions, Archbishop Mamberti said.

Prevention requires "the removal of factors which give rise to and nourish situations of injustice. In this field a primary and preventative role belongs to education inspired by respect for human life in all circumstances," he said.

Only with the recognition of the value of each life, he said, will it be "possible to create a strong social fabric united in its fundamental values and able to resist the provocation of extreme violence."

"In this context, the most important place in which human beings are formed is the family. There, children experience the value of their own transcendent dignity, as they are accepted gratuitously on the basis of the stable and reciprocal love of their parents," he said.

In the family, people have their first experiences of "justice and forgiveness, which cements family relationships and acts as a foundation for the correct insertion into social life," Archbishop Mamberti said.

The archbishop also insisted that the respect for human dignity at the basis of good social order also must be extended to those who have disturbed the social order.

"The criminal, no matter how grave the crimes he committed, always remains a human person, endowed with rights and obligations," he said.

"The state must take steps to prevent and repress criminal activity and compensate for the disorder caused by criminal action," the archbishop said, "but doing this, it always must abstain from mistreatment and torture, and assure the safeguarding of the fundamental rights that every person enjoys."

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VATICAN CITY - A Vatican computer technician charged with aiding and abetting the papal butler in stealing confidential documents went on trial amid legal arguments over the definition of the charge and questions about the "anonymous source" who reported him to officials.

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A second criminal trial opens Nov. 5 in the little courtroom on the ground floor of the Vatican's tribunal building, located just behind the apse of St. Peter's Basilica.

Claudio Sciarpelletti, a computer technician in the Vatican Secretariat of State, is to be tried on charges of aiding and abetting Paolo Gabriele, the papal butler, who was convicted of aggravated theft for stealing or photocopying private Vatican correspondence -- including letters to and from the pope.
The Vatican court's indictment of Sciarpelletti was released Aug. 13 along with the indictment of Gabriele.

The papal butler was arrested May 23 after a police search of his Vatican apartment turned up hundreds of sensitive documents, including many that had been leaked to an Italian journalist. Informed of "continual contacts" between Gabriele and Sciarpelletti, the Vatican court authorized a search May 25 of Sciarpelletti's office in the Secretariat of State, the indictment said.

Sciarpelletti himself led police to their key piece of evidence against him: an envelope in his desk. On the outside of the envelope was written: "Personal: P. Gabriele," the court said. The back of the envelope was marked with the secretariat's seal.

The computer tech was arrested May 25 and held by Vatican security overnight. According to the court documents, his descriptions of his relationship with Gabriele and of the origin and destination of the envelope changed several times over the course of the investigation.

Originally, Sciarpelletti was accused of giving false testimony, conspiracy to commit aggravated theft, aiding and abetting a thief and violating the secrets of his office.

The Vatican court said Sciarpelletti first claimed he knew Gabriele only in passing, but it turned out the two communicated frequently and saw each other -- with their wives and children -- socially as well as at work. He initially said Gabriele gave him the envelope "a couple years ago," asking him to read it and let him know what he thought. The next day, he said that the envelope was given to him by someone identified in the indictment only as "W," and that he was supposed to pass it on to Gabriele.

"The contrasting version of facts furnished by the accused Claudio Sciarpelletti may have hindered the investigation," the indictment said. However, the charges were reduced to "aiding and abetting," which is the closest crime the Vatican has to an accusation of being an accessory after the fact.

The arrest and trial of Gabriele made headlines around the world, and newspapers carried photographs of him on duty before his arrest riding in the front of the popemobile and assisting the pope with his coat. But Sciarpelletti is not known publicly, and Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said the Vatican court already has accepted a request from the defense that there be no television cameras or photographers -- not even the Vatican's own -- in the courtroom.

During the Gabriele trial, the three-judge panel hearing the case severely limited any testimony about the contents of the documents Gabriele was accused of stealing and leaking to an Italian journalist. Many of documents that were published concern financial mismanagement, corruption and careerism in the Vatican.

In the indictment, the Vatican court said that among the papers in the envelope Sciarpelletti had was an account titled "Napoleon in the Vatican," which appears in the book published by Gianluigi Nuzzi, the journalist who received documents from Gabriele.

The account focuses on how Domenico Giani, the head of Vatican security, quickly and quietly dealt with an incident in which a vehicle with Vatican license plates was hit by four .22-caliber bullets while parked at a Rome restaurant where Vatican police were eating with colleagues from Interpol. In the end, the incident was attributed to an unknown person with emotional problems who saw the Vatican license plates and started shooting. A restaurant employee who heard the shots reportedly told police he thought they were fireworks.

"Napoleon in the Vatican" also talks about two Vatican police officers and a staff member who reportedly own shares in Italian security firms. Nuzzi says "conflicts of interest" could arise in the future if the Vatican were to ever enter into business with the firms.

Sciarpelletti's attorney already has called Giani and Gianluca Gauzzi Broccoletti, one of the police officers, as witnesses in the trial.

Other witness include: Gabriele himself; Msgr. Carlo Maria Polvani, Sciarpelletti's superior in the Secretariat of State; and Maj. William Kloter, vice commander of the Swiss Guard.

Sciarpelletti spent one night in a Vatican jail cell and then was released on his own recognizance. If found guilty, he is not expected to be sentenced to jail time, although the charge could carry a penalty of up to one year in prison.

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VATICAN CITY - "Patience, serenity, perseverance and trust are needed" as the Vatican continues talks aimed at full reconciliation with the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X, said a statement from the Vatican commission overseeing the discussions.

The Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei," in a statement released Oct. 27, said the leadership of the SSPX had requested "additional time for reflection and study" before responding to Pope Benedict XVI's latest efforts to reintegrate them into the church.

"A culminating point along this difficult path" was reached June 13 when the commission gave the SSPX a final "doctrinal declaration together with a proposal for the canonical normalization of its status within the Catholic Church," the statement said.

The Vatican initially presented what it described as a "doctrinal preamble" to SSPX leaders in September 2011. While it never released the text, the Vatican had said it outlined "some doctrinal principles and criteria for the interpretation of Catholic doctrine necessary to guarantee fidelity" to the formal teaching of the church, including the teaching of the Second Vatican Council.

The SSPX gave the Vatican its response in April. The Vatican, in turn, gave the SSPX the doctrinal declaration to sign in June and also presented a proposal to establish for SSPX members a "personal prelature," which is a church jurisdiction without geographical boundaries. Currently, the church's only personal prelature is Opus Dei.

The Vatican said that "after 30 years of separation, it is understandable that time is needed to absorb the significance of these recent developments."

The statement called the efforts a "dramatic manifestation" of the pope's ministry "to foster and preserve the unity of the church by realizing the long hoped-for reconciliation."

Just three days before the Vatican statement was published, the SSPX announced it had ousted British Bishop Richard Williamson, one of the four bishops ordained by SSPX founder Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre without papal approval in 1988.

Bishop Williamson opposed the reconciliation talks with the Vatican and had caused great embarrassment for the German-born Pope Benedict. On the same day in 2009 that the Vatican announced Pope Benedict had lifted the excommunication of Bishop Williamson and three other of the society's bishops, a Swedish television station aired an interview with Bishop Williamson in which he denied the extent of the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews.

In a statement emailed to subscribers of his newsletter Oct. 27, Bishop Williamson said many people thought his presence in the SSPX was "the single biggest obstacle" to the SSPX's reconciliation with Rome.

While he said he didn't know if his expulsion was a condition set by the Vatican, "it certainly favors" the reconciliation talks.

"Archbishop Lefebvre founded the SSPX to resist the (Second Vatican) Council's destruction of the Catholic faith by its 16 documents, and of the practice of that faith by the new Mass above all," he wrote. "To undo a thing's nature is to undo the thing," he said, explaining why he opposed the talks with Rome.

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Claudio Sciarpelletti, the Vatican Secretariat of State computer technician accused of aiding and abetting the pope's butler in stealing confidential Vatican correspondence, will go on trial at the Vatican Nov. 5.

The Vatican announced the trial date Oct. 23. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters that Sciarpelletti's trial on the "minor charges" of aiding and abetting was expected to be brief.

Also Oct. 23, the Vatican released a 15-page document from the three-judge panel that found the butler, Paolo Gabriele, guilty Oct. 6 and sentenced him to 18 months in jail.

After criminal trials in Italy and at the Vatican, the judges publish a detailed explanation of how they arrived at their verdict and how they determined the sentence. Father Lombardi said a Vatican prosecutor will study the document and has 40 days to decide whether he will file an appeal, something usually done to request a harsher sentence.

Gabriele, who also had a chance to appeal his conviction, declined to do so; he remains under house arrest until the prosecution decides about its appeal, Father Lombardi said. Pope Benedict XVI also could pardon his former butler.

Father Lombardi said that if the pope does not pardon the 46-year-old Gabriele, Vatican judicial officials plan to have him serve his sentence in a 12-foot-by-12-foot cell in the Vatican police barracks and not in an Italian prison.

The report included the fact that the judges denied a request by Gabriele's lawyer to have retired Cardinals Ivan Dias, former prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, and Georges Cottier, former theologian of the papal household, testify before a papally appointed commission of cardinals conducting a separate investigation of the leaking of Vatican documents.

The judges said it was beyond their powers to do so; there was no explanation of what kind of information the defense thought the two cardinals could provide.

In the judges' report, they said that while Gabriele consistently maintained he acted out of love for the pope and the church, the judges felt an obligation "to observe how the action undertaken by Gabriele in reality was harmful" to "the pontiff, the laws of the Holy See, the whole Catholic Church and Vatican City State."

Much of the material simply summarized information collected during the initial investigation of Gabriele and the testimony given during his trial Sept. 29-Oct. 6.

But the judges' reactions to several points raised by Cristiana Arru, Gabriele's lawyer, were explained in detail, particularly regarding Arru's contention that since the material found in Gabriele's apartment consisted of photocopies, not originals, the former butler didn't actually steal anything.

First, the judges said testimony from Msgr. Georg Ganswein, the pope's personal secretary, and from Vatican police officers who searched Gabriele's Vatican apartment proved to them that a few originals were among the photocopies.

Second, they said, Gabriele removed the originals without permission in order to photocopy them, but even more, they said, while he might not have stolen many original documents, by photocopying them he took the information written on them without consent.

"The paper document is nothing other than the support material for an immaterial content," the judges said.

During the trial, Arru repeatedly raised questions about the Vatican prosecutor's assertion that police found in Gabriele's Vatican apartment three items given to Pope Benedict as gifts: a check for 100,000 euros ($123,000); a gold nugget from the director of a mining company in Peru; and a 16th-century edition of a translation of the "Aeneid."

The judges' explanation of their verdict basically said they made their judgment based on the theft of confidential papal and Vatican documents, not on the three gifts.

A separate area of the report concerned whether or not Gabriele was capable of understanding his actions, which the judges answered affirmatively.

The judges cited several statements made by Gabriele, both during the investigation and at the trial, to the effect that he knew what he was doing was wrong, he took extra precautions to avoid being caught and he went to confession when it became clear he was about to be arrested.

The judges also discussed the points that, in their view, made Gabriele's actions a case of "aggravated theft" and not simple theft.

The main aggravating factor, they said, was the fact that Gabriele abused his position of trust: "In effect, Gabriele was able to commit the crime he's accused of because of his work relationship with the Holy Father, which necessarily was based on a bond of trust."

Gabriele's job brought him into the very private life of Pope Benedict, and the butler violated the "absolute reserve" such a position required, the judges said.

"He used this unique position to perpetrate his criminal actions," they said.

While recognizing that Gabriele was not paid for leaking the documents to an Italian journalist (who, in turn, published them in an instantly best-selling book), the judges said he still committed the crime with the intent to profit from it "intellectually and morally."

The judges quoted him as telling investigators, "Even if the possession of those documents was illicit, I felt I had to do it for various reasons, including my own personal interests." Gabriele, they said, felt that having the documents would help him better understand the inner workings of the Vatican, and leaking them to a journalist would help him provide the "shock" that could lead to change in the Vatican, which he felt was becoming filled with corruption and careerism.

In the verdict, the judges ordered Gabriele to pay the Vatican's court costs, which Father Lombardi said amounted to the equivalent of about $1,300.

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A three-judge panel of Vatican jurists found Paolo Gabriele, the papal butler, guilty of aggravated theft and sentenced him to 18 months in jail for his role in leaking private papal correspondence and other confidential documents.

The verdict was read Oct. 6 by Giuseppe Dalla Torre, president of the three-judge panel, just two hours after the fourth and final session of the trial.
Dalla Torre began reading the sentence with the formula, "In the name of His Holiness Benedict XVI, gloriously reigning, the tribunal, having invoked the Most Holy Trinity, pronounced the following sentence. ..."

He then said the judges had found Gabriele guilty and sentenced him to three years in jail, but reduced the sentence for four reasons: Gabriele had never been convicted of a crime before; the value of his previous service to the Vatican; the fact that he was convinced, "although erroneously," of having acted for the good of the church; and his declaration that he was aware of "betraying the Holy Father's trust."

The reading of the verdict and sentence took less than five minutes. Gabriele showed no emotion as the verdict was read, and afterward Vatican police led him to a side room while others exited the courtroom.

His lawyer, Cristiana Arru, said they would take him back to his Vatican apartment under house arrest. The defense has three days to inform the court if it intends to appeal.

"It's a good sentence, a balanced sentence," she told reporters. She said she and Gabriele had made no decision about the appeal.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters Pope Benedict was informed of the results of the trial immediately and was studying the matter. Father Lombardi said he believed it was likely the pope would pardon Gabriele, although he had no idea when that would occur.

Before the verdict was issued, the court heard the closing arguments of Arru and Nicola Picardi, the Vatican City prosecutor. Gabriele, a 46-year-old father of three, was given the opportunity to have the last word.

Gabriele told the court, "What I feel strongly is the conviction of having acted out of an exclusive -- I'd say, visceral -- love for the church of Christ and for its visible head."

"If I have to say it again, I'd say I do not feel like a thief," he told the court.

Picardi asked the judges to find Gabriele guilty and to sentence him to three years in prison; he said that while aggravated theft carries a maximum penalty of four years, there were "generic extenuating circumstances" that led him to seek a year less. However, he also asked the court to rule that Gabriele never again could hold a job in the Vatican that would bring him into contact with sensitive information or power.

In its sentence, the court did not order a restriction of Vatican jobs Gabriele could hold in the future; it did, however, order him to pay court costs.

In his closing arguments, Picardi reminded the court that during the interrogations before the indictment and trial, Gabriele had said he passed on only photocopies and never removed original documents, but the testimony of Msgr. Georg Ganswein, the pope's personal secretary, and six police officers proved he had, in fact, taken originals.

The prosecutor also told the court that Gabriele was fascinated by secret service operations and thought the Holy Spirit sent him as an agent to help the pope. Picardi also said Gabriele believed "the pope was not sufficiently informed" about Vatican scandals and careerism, and he told investigators he hoped to help bring those problems to light.

Picardi said that while it is difficult to believe that one person collected all the stolen documents alone, Gabriele claimed he acted on his own, and the investigation found no proof of other accomplices -- other than, perhaps, the Vatican computer expert, who is facing charges of aiding and abetting Gabriele.

Gabriele's lawyer, Arru, told the court that while what Gabriele did was "illicit," he was not guilty of theft since all he did was photocopy documents and not steal them. She said she believed the police who testified to finding originals were wrong; they simply didn't recognize the fact that color photocopies could look like originals.

In addition, she said, Gabriele reaped no benefit from photocopying the documents.

Arru urged the judges to consider Gabriele's motives for acting and to impose only a minimal sentence. "He felt forced (to act) by the evil he saw" around him at the Vatican, Arru said.

The defense lawyer said she hoped one day Gabriele would be "rewarded" for his desire to help the church and the pope.

Arru also told the court that any sentence should be reduced given the fact that Gabriele will be damaged for life by the publication of the court's August indictment, which included quotations from a psychiatrist and psychologist describing her client as simple, suggestible and as having an exaggerated sense of his own importance.

Testifying Oct. 2, Gabriele had said he was innocent of theft, but "I feel guilty for having betrayed the trust the Holy Father placed in me."

"I loved him like a son would," Gabriele told the court on the second day of his trial.

Asked to describe his role in the papal household, Gabriele said he served Pope Benedict his meals, packed the pope's suitcases and accompanied him on trips, and did other "small tasks" assigned to him by Msgr. Ganswein.

"I was the layman closest to the Holy Father, there to respond to his immediate needs," Gabriele said.

Being so close to the pope, Gabriele said he became aware of how "easy it is to manipulate the one who holds decision-making power in his hands," and he tried raising some of his concerns with the pope conversationally.

He said he leaked the documents out of concern for the pope, who he believed was not being fully informed about the corruption and careerism in the Vatican.

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VATICAN CITY - Vatican police officers who searched Paolo Gabriele's apartment testified they found "an infinite amount" of documents and news clippings covering a vast range of topics, including the Masons, the Vatican bank and yoga.

Although they sequestered 82 moving boxes full of materials, once the police inspected all the paper, only a fraction of the material was deemed relevant to the case, officers told a three-judge panel on the third day of the "VatiLeaks" trial.

Vatican judges said they would hear closing arguments Oct. 6; a verdict was possible the same day.

Each of the four police officers testifying Oct. 3 also said they did not wear gloves during the search, saying that was not the usual protocol for conducting a search and seizure of paper.

In the court's brief morning session, the four officers testifying were Stefano De Santis, Silvano Carli, Luca Bassetti and Luca Cintia, vice commissioner of the Vatican police force.

The four men were among the officers who conducted the search of Gabriele's Vatican apartment May 23 and arrested Gabriele that evening. The officers were among eight witnesses all called by the defense to testify in the trial of the former papal assistant, who has been charged with aggravated theft for allegedly stealing and leaking papal correspondence and other sensitive documents.
Gabriele was present in the courtroom during their testimony.

Each officer took the stand while his colleagues waited outside. Each of the officers was asked to describe how the search was conducted, which officers searched which rooms of Gabriele's Vatican apartment and what was found where.

The search started just before 4 p.m. and ended close to midnight. De Santis said he suggested to Gabriele that it would be better for his wife and children, who were home at the time, to leave for awhile because the potentially disturbing event "would be engraved in their memories."

Gabriele declined, and he, his wife and three children stayed in the apartment during the search.Two of the officers were called only later to help with the search. Even while other officers continued to go through Gabriele's home office, the two were asked to check the children's rooms for potential material and to do it quickly so the children could go to bed.

De Santis said the officers also told Gabriele he should phone a lawyer, and he immediately called Carlo Fusco, his childhood friend. Fusco left the defense team in August, saying he and Gabriele had irreconcilable differences of opinion about defense strategy.

The officers said that during the search Gabriele said, "See how much I like to read and study?" But he also apologized that the amount of material in his house "will keep you at work late," and he offered them coffee and water.

Gabriele was taken into police custody around 8 p.m.

In his testimony, De Santis said he realized the seriousness of the alleged crime when they discovered materials matching those leaked to an Italian journalist, who had published them in a book.

"At that point we decided to take away everything" that looked remotely related, and they alerted the head of the Vatican police corps, Domenico Giani.

Highly sensitive materials, including encrypted cables from Vatican nuncios, were "well-hidden" among piles of paper stuffed in cabinets, shelves and ceiling-high closets, he and the other police witnesses said.

Gabriele allegedly leaked a large number of sensitive documents to an Italian journalist who published them in a book early May. De Santis testified that the publication of even one of the coded and deciphered cables could have compromised the Vatican encryption system.

Only a small fraction --"more than 1,000 pages" -- of the materials was determined to be relevant to the case, Carli testified. Some of that material involved information about the private life of the papal household, letters from cardinals to the pope and written replies from the pope. Some documents with the pope's signature were marked in German, "Destroy," two of the officers testified.

The majority of the documents were pages printed off the Internet and news clippings covering a vast array of topics. Gabriele's lawyer, Cristiana Arru, questioned each officer about how much material was found in the apartment and where it had been discovered. In addition to the 82 boxes -- each measuring about 15 inches by 23 inches -- police carried away two black leather suitcases and two "big yellow bags" filled with materials.

Arru told reporters after the hearing that she wanted to show that it was physically impossible for that amount of material to have been in Gabriele's home.

Arru was rebuffed by the main judge, Giuseppe Dalla Torre, when she continued to ask the police whether they were present at the search of Gabriele's quarters at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo. Dalla Torre said repeatedly that the results of the Castel Gandolfo search were not relevant to the case because a Vatican tribunal's jurisdiction only covers crimes committed in Vatican City State.

Police also confiscated one desktop computer, two or three laptops, "many" USB memory pen drives, one iPod, two hard disks and a PlayStation from Gabriele's Vatican apartment, police said. De Santis said police still have not finished examining all of the information on the computers.

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VATICAN CITY - For the Vatican's criminal court, the trial of Paolo Gabriele and Claudio Sciarpelletti for their alleged part in leaking papal correspondence will be unusual and may lead the Vatican to invoke a never-used co-operation agreement with Italy.

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VATICAN CITY - Choosing men and women from every part of the world and from a wide variety of professions, Pope Benedict XVI nominated 45 experts and 49 observers for the upcoming world Synod of Bishops.

The Oct. 7-28 gathering will include the largest bloc of women — 10 experts, including Sr. Gill Goulding of Toronto's Regis College, and 19 observers — ever to participate in a Vatican synod.

Europe accounts for the overwhelming majority of the appointees, followed by North America, with 10 people from the United States, two from Mexico and Goulding from Canada. A number of the appointees are also advisors to the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization and other Vatican offices.

The list of papal appointments to the synod was published Sept. 22 by the Vatican.

Experts and observers, who include laypeople, are not voting members of the synod. According to Vatican rules, only priests, bishops and cardinals can be full members who vote and determine the propositions to be presented to the Pope at the end of the gathering.

The 45 experts include priests, nuns and laypeople, many of whom are professors, rectors or supervisors of catechetical or pastoral programs. They will serve as resources for the more than 200 synod members as they discuss the theme, "New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith."

The 49 observers can attend all synod sessions, participate in the synod working groups and have an opportunity to address the entire assembly.

Many of the observers are leaders of religious orders, founders or leaders of lay movements or large Catholic associations, or professors or organizers of catechetical and pastoral programs.

Here is the full list of experts invited to attend the upcoming world Synod of Bishops:

- Sr. Gill Goulding C.J., associate professor of systematic theology and spirituality at Regis College University of Toronto (Canada).
- Sr. Beatriz Acosta Mesa O.D.N. (Colombia), superior general of the Company of Our Lady Mary.
- Mauro Agosto, professor of Latin at Rome's Pontifical Lateran University.- Fr. Anthony Alaba Akinwale O.P., rector of the Dominican Institute of Ibadan (Nigeria).
- Fr. Luiz Alves de Lima S.D.B., member of the administrative office of the Society of Latin American Catechists (Brazil).- Fr. Antonio Aranda Lomena, professor of dogmatic theology at the University of Navarre (Spain).
- Fr. George Augustin S.A.C., professor of fundamental and dogmatic at the "Philosophisch-Theologischen Hochschule Vallendar" (Germany).- Fr. Paul Bere S.J., professor of the Old Testament and biblical languages at the Catholic University of West Africa (Burkina Faso).
- Br. Enzo Bianchi, prior of the monastic community of Bose (Italy).- Br. Enzo Biemmi F.S.F., president of the European Team of Catechists (Italy).
- Fr. Luca Bressan, episcopal vicar for culture, charity, the mission and social work of the archdiocese of Milan (Italy).- Sr. Sara Butler M.S.B.T. (U.S.A.), professor at the Ecclesiastical Faculty of St. Mary of the Lake University in Mundelein, and member of the International Theological Commission.
- Jessica Joy Candelario, coordinator for the pastoral care of young people at "Bukal Ng Tipan Pastoral Centre" (Philippines).- Anna Kai-Yung Chan, professor at the Holy Spirit Seminary College of Theology and Philosophy, Hong Kong (China).
- Sr. Luisa Ciupa S.A.M.I., vice president of the Commission for Catechesis of the Greek-Catholic Ukrainain Church (Ukraine).- Fr. Eamonn Conway, head of the Theology and Religious Studies Department at Mary Immaculate College of the University of Limerick (Ireland).
- Fr. Jeremy Driscoll O.S.B. (U.S.A.), professor at the Theological Faculty of Rome's St. Anselm Pontifical Athenaeum, and professor of liturgy at the Mount Angel Seminary in St. Benedict, Oregon.- Caroline Farey, professor at the Maryvale Institute, Birmingham (England).
- Fr. Juan Javier Flores Arcas O.S.B. (Spain), rector of Rome's St. Anselm Pontifical Athenaeum.
- Msgr. Rafiq Hanna Khoury, professor of liturgy at the major seminary of Beit Jala (Palestinian Territories).- Sr. Anna Emmanuela Klich O.S.U., director of the Inter-Congregational Institute for Catechesis in Krakow (Poland).
- Fr. Jaime Alberto Mancera Casas, episcopal vicar for pastoral care in the archdiocese of Bogota (Colombia).- Msgr. Ermenegildo Manicardi, rector of Rome's "Almo Collegio Capranica", and professor at the Pontifical Biblical Institute (Italy).
- Fr. Thomas Manjaly, professor of Sacred Scripture at Oriens Theological College and at the Inter-Diocesan Theologate for North East India in Shillong (India).- Ralph Martin, director of graduate theological programs in the new evangelisation at the Sacred Heart Seminary of Detroit (U.S.A.).
- Fr. Paolo Martinelli O.F.M. Cap. (Italy), president of the Franciscan Institute of Spirituality at the "Antonianum" Pontifical Athenaeum in Rome, and professor of fundamental theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.- Fr. Krzysztof Mielnicki, director of the office for catechesis of the diocese of Drohiczyn (Poland).
- Sr. Paula Jean Miller F.S.E., professor at the Department of Theology of the University of St. Thomas in Huston (U.S.A.).- Fr. Joseph-Marie Ndi-Okalla, vice rector of the "Universite Catholique D'Afrique Centrale" in Yaounde (Cameroon).
- Fr. Godfrey Igwebuike Onah (Nigeria), vice rector of the Pontifical Urban University in Rome.- Rodolfo Papa, professor of art history and aesthetics at the Pontifical Urban University in Rome.
- Fr. Cleto Pavanetto S.D.B., professor emeritus of the Faculty of Christian and Classical Literature at the Pontifical Salesian University of Rome.- Edward Peters, professor of canon law and holder of the Edmund Cardinal Szoka Chair at the Sacred Heart Major Seminary of Detroit (U.S.A.).
- Fr. Salvador Pie-Ninot (Spain), professor of fundamental theology and ecclesiology at the "Facoltat de Teologia de Catalunya", and professor of fundamental theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.- Msgr. Antonio Pitta, professor at the Faculty of Theology of Rome's Pontifical Lateran University.
- Sr. Enrica Rosanna F.M.A, former under secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (Italy).- Fr. Marko Ivan Rupnik S.J. (Slovenia), director of the "Ezio Aletti" Study Centre in Rome.
- Fr. Samir Khalil Samir S.J. (Lebanon), professor of Arab-Christian theology at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, and professor of the history of Arabic culture and Islamology at the University of "St. Joseph de Beyrouth".- Fr. Kinkupu Leonard Santedi, professor at the Catholic University of Congo, president of the "Evangelii Nuntiandi" Foundation in Africa, and member of the International Theological Commission (Democratic Republic of Congo).
- Msgr. Pierangelo Sequeri (Italy), president of the Faculty of Theology of Northern Italy, and member of the International Theological Commission.- Thomas Soding, professor of biblical theology at the "Bergische" University of Wuppertal (Germany).
- Fr. Virginio Spicacci S.J., active in pastoral care and evangelisation in the archdiocese of Naples (Italy).- Fr. Mihaly Szentmártoni S.J. (Serbia), president of the Institute of Spirituality of the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
- Fr. Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti, professor of fundamental theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome.- Petroc Willey, dean of graduate research at the Maryvale Institute of Birmingham (England).
The Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops has, likewise with the approval of the Supreme Pontiff, appointed the following individuals as "Auditores" (or Auditros) for the forthcoming Synodal Assembly.
- Emile Amin Henein, Director of the "Truth" Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, (Egypt).
- Chiara Amirante, founder and president of the New Horizons Community (Italy).- Carl Albert Anderson (U.S.A.), supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus.
- Fr. Camilo Bernal Hadad C.I.M. (Colombia), superior general of the Congregation of Jesus and Mary.- Sr. Maria Antonieta Bruscato F.S.P. (Brazil), superior general of the Daughters of St. Paul.
- Guzman Carriquiry (Uruguay), secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.- Jose Maria Simon Castellví (Spain), president of the International Federation of the Association of Catholic Media F.I.A.M.C.
- Sr. Rekha (Mary Joseph) Chennattu R.A., professor of the New Testament at the Pontifical Institute of Philosophy and Religion in Pune (India).- Fr. Renato de Guzman S.D.B., chief assistant for pastoral care of the Grade School and High School Departments, Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati City (Philippines).
- Florence De Leyritz, member of the Alpha France Association (France).- Marc De Leyritz, president of the Alpha France Association (France).
- Fr. Ari Luis do Valle Ribeiro, professor at the seminar of the diocese of Santo Amaro, and diocesan coordinator for catechesis (Brazil).- Mikhail Fateev, director of production at the "United Television" channel of St. Petersburg (Russian Federation).
- Sr. Inmaculada Fukasawa A.C.I. (Japan), superior general of the Handmaidens of the Sacred Heart of Jesus- Msgr. Enrique Glennie Graue, vicar general of the archdiocese of Mexico (Mexico).
- Francisco Jose Gomez Arguello Wirtz (Spain), co-founder of the Neo-Catechumenal Way.- Fr. Jesus Higueras Esteban, pastor of S. Maria de Cana, Madrid (Spain).
- Marco Impagliazzo (Italy), president of the Sant'Egidio Community.- Lydia Jimenez Gonzalez (Spain), director general of the "Cruzadas de Santa Maria" Secular Institute.
- Ernestine Sikujua Kinyabuuma, professor at the University Institute of Maria Malkia in Lubumbashi, and member of the "Focolari" Movement (Democratic Republic of Congo).- Joakim Kipyego Koech, head of the Communion and Liberation Movement in Kenya.
- Zoltan Kunszabo, permanent deacon of the archdiocese of Esztergom-Budapest (Hungary).- Ewa Kusz (Poland), former president of the World Conference of Secular Institutes, C.M.I.S.
- Chantal Le Ricque, lay woman of the archdiocese of Paris (France).- Fr. Vinko Mamic O.C.D., president of the Union of Superiors Major in Croatia (Croatia).
- Curtis A. Martin, founder and president of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students - Focus (U.S.A.).- Salvatore Martinez, president for Italy of the Renewal in the Holy Spirit Movement (Italy).
- Sr. Nzenzili Lucie Mboma F.M.M. (Democratic Republic of Congo), executive director of the Service of Documentation and Study on Global Mission, S.E.D.O.S.- Marylee J. Meehan (U.S.A.), president of the International Catholic Committee of Nurses and Medico-Social Assistants, C.I.C.I.A.M.S.
- Franco Miano, president of Italian Catholic Action.- Gisele Muchati, regional director of the New Families Movement (Syria).
- Peter Murphy, executive director of the Secretariat for Evangelisation and Catechesis of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (U.S.A.).- Patricia Ngozi Nwachukwu K.S.M., member of the Knights of St. Mulumba (Nigeria).
- Yong Suk Francis Xavier Oh, secretary general of the Catholic Lay Apostolate Council of Korea (Korea).- Fr. Piergiorgio Perini, president of the International Service Organisation for the "Cellule Parrocchiali di Evangelizzazione" (Italy).
- Rita María Petrirena Hernandez, head of the department for pastoral coordination of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba (Cuba).- Sr. Suzanne Louise Phillips F.M.M. (Australia), superior general of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Mary.
- Sr. Mary Prema Pierick M.C. (India), superior general of the Missionaries of Charity.- Jose Prado Flores, founder and international director of the St. Andrew Schools of Evangelisation (Mexico).
- Sr. Yvonne Reungoat F.M.A. (France), superior general of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Salesian Sisters of St John Bosco. - Br. Alvaro Antonio Rodriguez Echeverria F.S.C. (Costa Rica), superior general of the Brothers of Christian Schools.
- Michel Roy (France), secretary general of "Caritas Internationalis".- Raid Sargi, president of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Damascus (Syria).
- Tommaso Spinelli, catechist of the youth group of the parish of Santa Melania Juniore in Rome.- Manoj Sunny, director and journalist, founding member of the Jesus Youth Movement (India).
- Br. Emili Turu Rofes F.M.S. (Spain), superior general of the Marist Brothers (Little Brothers of Mary).- Fr. Emmanuel Typamm C.M. (Cameroon), secretary general of the "Confederation des Conferences des Superieurs Majeurs D'Afrique et de Madagascar", Co.S.M.A.M.
- Maria Voce (Italy), president of the Focolari Movement.- Sr. Mary Lou Wirtz F.C.J.M. (U.S.A.), president of the International Union of Superiors General, U.I.S.G.

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