Vatican City authorities detained and arrested two people over the weekend, cleric Msgr. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda and Secretary Dr. Francesca Chaouqui, for leaking confidential documents out of the confines of the Vatican.
On Thursday, Nov. 5, two books will be out exposing scandals and corruption at the highest levels within the Catholic Church. Chaouqui, the only laywoman in a commission who was handpicked by Pope Francis, was already a controversial name in the past for posing half-naked with a man.
By virtue of the criminal code of the Vatican State Law, Vatican authorities detained and arrested Balda and Chaouqui, the Holy See said in its statement. The two were secretary and members of the Commission for Reference on the Organization of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See which was established by Pope Francis in July 2013. Chaouqui was subsequently released because the Office of the Promoter of Justice saw no evident reasons to keep her in custody and she also promised to cooperate with the investigation.
When Pope Francis designated Chaouqui as laywoman there had been many objections from Vatican officials. She had posed half-naked with man. At the time, she was congratulated by Go Topless for being the only female aide appointed by the Vatican for freely showing her nude torso, The Daily Beast reported. “I am the only woman on this type of commission and of course everyone wants to find a way to disgrace me,” Chaouqui said.
As The Daily Beast noted, in 2012 Pope Benedict’s butler was arrested for allegedly leaking confidential documents to Italian journalist and author Gianluigi Nuzzi. The arrest of Chaouqui and Balda happened over the weekend. On Thursday, a new book from Nuzzi will hit shelves. Prior to the arrest and the whole hullabaloo, Chaouqui was sending cryptic messages to Nuzzi via social media according to The Daily Beast.
Nuzzi’s new book is titled “Merchants in the Temple: Inside Pope Francis’ battle Against Corruption in the Vatican.” It will be released in the U.S. on Nov. 10. U.S. publisher Henry Holt and Company described it as a book that evokes the personalities and scandals brewing within the secret confines of the Catholic Church. Henry Holt’s president Stephen Rubin said it is a startling book that will shock every reader including those beyond the Catholic Church. In a statement, the publisher revealed that Nuzzi has access to unpublished and secret documents telling unbelievable stories of scandal and corruption at the highest levels.
“A veritable war is waging in the Catholic Church: on one side, there is Pope Francis’s strong message for one church of the poor and all; and on the other side, there is the opaque and aggressive power systems within the Vatican’s hierarchy,” Nuzzi said in the statement. “They do not back down, they are ready to use all means necessary to stay in control and continue the immoral way they conduct their business. They resist reforms sought by Pope Francis and seek to delegitimize their opponents, to isolate those who want to eliminate corruption. It’s a war that will determine the future of the church .If he loses the battle against secular interests and blackmail, Pope Francis might resign, much like his predecessor,” Nuzzi warned.
The other book to be release following the arrests was titled “Avarice: Documents revealing Wealth, Scandals and Secrets of Francis’ Church.” It is written by Italian journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi.
The books “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, i.e. the delivery of confidential documents,” the Vatican said of the book. The Holy See warned against the mistake of thinking that this is a way to help the mission of the Pope. “Publications of this kind do not contribute in any way to the establishment of clarity and truth, but rather to the creation of confusion and partial and tendentious interpretations,” Vatican’s statement said.