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'Big Brother' is now watching over the Vatican
New security measures include trackable ID cards in wake of Vatileaks scandal
- Andrea Tornielli, Vatican City
- Vatican City
- December 3, 2012
Having greeted the Swiss Guard in his magnificent uniform, an impeccably dressed monsignor walks briskly past until his eyes catch sight of the two security barriers located beyond the marble doorframe. And his heart sinks with disappointment.
From January 1, anyone who enters or exits will have to swipe their new magnetic ID cards, which are fitted with a chip that makes it possible to locate the card’s owner at any time.
This is just one of the consequences of the Vatileaks scandal. Locked archives, more stringent checks on those who wish to view dossiers and the obligation to declare every document that is photocopied. The Holy See has introduced a set of new, tougher rules, which even apply to the few members of the papal household. The personal secretaries’ office has been declared off limits to prevent a repeat of the leaked document incident.
The Pope’s secretaries, Georg Gänswein and Alfred Xuereb, share an office that is adjacent to Benedict XVI’s study. In this office, apart from the photocopier, there was also a desk with a computer for the papal butler. Angelo Guger, the now retired papal butler who served three Popes, used it for small secretarial tasks assigned to him by Fr. Stanislao Dziwisz. This is where Paolo Gabriele, Benedict XVI’s former butler, made copies of the famous leaked confidential documents that were passed on to Fr. Georg when the Pope had finished reading them.
Because of the Vatileaks scandal, not only is the new papal butler, Sandro Mariotti, also known as Sandrone, not given any secretarial tasks, he is forbidden from spending time in the secretaries’ office. Security has also been tightened with regards to the handling of documents that make their way from the Secretariat of State to the Pope’s desk. These documents are then returned to the Secretariat of State with any additional notes and the unmistakable “B16” the Pope adds in his own writing to all letters read by him personally.