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You have by now heard that the Holy Father’s valet, or butler, has been arrested for stealing documents and leaking them to the press.  The Butler is presently confined in the Vatican jail (yes, there is one and no, I haven’t see it) and is being questioned.

This news story may be of interest:


ROME – Joining forces with the Women’s Ordination Conference, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious has enlisted the services of Fr. Ray Bourgeois, MM, in an effort to secure the release of the Pope’s Butler from a Vatican jail cell where he awaits trial for stealing and disclosing classified papal and Holy See documents to the press.

Likening the Pope’s Butler to Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame, Sr. R.U. Kidding, a Daughter of Charity and co-mentor of the LCWR, said that the Pope’s Butler was a “political prisoner” and that the Vatican was “torturing” him and should release him as the hero he is.

“We’ve heard reports of a Vatican ‘probe’, said Kidding.  “What does that mean?”

“Yes, the Vatican is just as medieval as we have always said it was. This just proves it.”, reiterated Sr Randi McNulty, a Sister of Mercy and another LCWR co-mentor.

When questioned about the possibility that crimes were committed, Bourgeois shot back, “Some needs outweigh outdated male-made rules. We call on the Vatican gendarmes to free that butler and free him now. Free The Vatican 1!”

Bourgeois, co-spokesperson and famed rights champion said, “The butler is in solitary confinement in a Vatican jail for trying to bring transparency to the highest levels of Vatican intrigue. We stand in solidarity with all those oppressed by male-hierarchical power.”

A clearly angry Sr. Kidding said, “He struck a blow for equality and they’re making him a scapegoat.”

Visibly moved, Bourgeois added, “This guy’s… a hero.”

There have been unconfirmed reports of nuns in pants suits with scaling ladders at the Vatican walls.

For more information visit the organization’s website:

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. chantgirl says:

    I was pretty sure this was a real article until I got to the part about sisters scaling walls, now I just don’t know if I took the blue or red pill. Are you messing with my mind, Fr. Z? Reality has grown strange.

  2. mrthomaskeep says:

    He committed a very serious crime, some might say even tantamount to treason. So of course he is in prison! He deserves it, he betrayed the Holy Father. What kind of people are these “nuns”? Do they have one ounce left of Catholicity in them? It seems that they don’t, otherwise they would sense the gravity of what has transpired. He didn’t just commit grave sin, this is also a state affair, and the Vatican City State as a sovereign entity has full prerogative to detain such people. Father Zuhlsdorf, in your knowledge and wisdom, you should write to these deeply confused people on their erroneous way.

  3. acardnal says:

    Thanks for posting this. I needed a good hearty laugh today!

  4. Marc says:

    “…the Leadership Conference of Women Religious has enlisted the services of Fr. Ray Bourgeois, MM…”

    Really? Fr. Ray Bourgeois, MM, whose that? Oh yeah! Did he not loose his clerical status? If I am correct, is he Mr. Ray Bourgeois?

  5. Marc says:

    I looked it up, he still has clerical status

  6. Ttony says:


    But funny enough to outdo the naughtiness, especially with the picture of “women religious of size” to accompany it.

  7. acardnal says:

    The leadership should read and heed these words of Pope Benedict from his homily today, Pentecost Sunday.

    “Now it is clearer why Babel is Babel and Pentecost is Pentecost. Where people want to become God, they succeed only in pitting themselves against each other. Where they place themselves within the Lord’s truth, on the other hand, they open themselves to the action of his Spirit which supports and unites them. …

    Saint Paul lists the works of the flesh: they are the sins of selfishness and violence, like hostility, discord, jealousy, dissent. These are thoughts and actions that do not allow us to live in a truly human and Christian way, in love. This direction leads to us losing our life. The Holy Spirit, though, guides us towards the heights of God, so that, on this earth, we can already experience the seed of divine life that is within us. Saint Paul confirms it: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace”. We note how the Apostle uses the plural to describe the works of the flesh that provoke the loss of our humanity – while he uses the singular to define the action of the Spirit, speaking of “the fruit”, in the same way as the dispersion of Babel contrasts with the unity of Pentecost.

    Dear friends, we must live according to the Spirit of unity and truth, and this is why we must pray for the Spirit to enlighten and guide us to overcome the temptation to follow our own truths, and to welcome the truth of Christ transmitted in the Church.”

  8. acardnal says:

    I meant to say “the leadership of the LCWR . . . “

  9. Burke says:

    Don’t these people believe in due process? He’s only being questioned; he hasn’t even been charged, much less convicted, and they are assuming he is guilty. Shame on them!

  10. robtbrown says:

    Can anyone imagine how comforting it must be to the butler to have the likes of Fr Bourgeois and the LCWR working for his release?

    That notwithstanding, I don’t pretend to know what happened, but I’ll bet it’s complicated. In Italy, appearances often have little to do with reality.

  11. Matt R says:

    Smite, slay, and stab me as you wish, but I’m supporting the butler on this one…not because the Holy See is wrong to arrest someone who committed this type of offense though. I don’t think he did it…

  12. EXCHIEF says:

    The “nuns” referred to are so old and broken down I seriously doubt they could scale the Vatican Walls on a ladder……but let em try. Perhaps the Vatican has a law against attempting to free a prisoner. Then we could have a whole bunch of anti-catholics in jail at the same time. See, there is always a positive way to look at these things.

  13. Denis says:

    This is going to be a Fishwrap classic! An instant golden (girls) oldie. It should come with a warning label: ‘This article can cause dangerous levels of hathos in the reader.’

    My favorite line: ‘Yes, the Vatican is just as mediveal as we have always said it was’

    Is ‘medi-veal’ some new GMO meat that the Holy Father has engineered in his genetic laboratory?

  14. yatzer says:

    I couldn’t tell if this was parody or for real, since reality has become so odd in so many cases.
    Please, as one who has grown old fighting this kind of stuff, could there be a cessation of snide remarks about those advanced in years?

  15. Denis says:

    “Sr. R.U. Kidding”

    OK, so this is a joke. It just seemed so…believable.

  16. wanda says:

    Why am I the last one to get it? [No, you won’t be the last.] Although I wondered about the name R.U.Kidding. Ha! Good one!

  17. kittenchan says:

    Oh yeah, NOW they’re concerned about Vatican 1. Heard tell they thought the only council worth brain space was Vatican 2.

    If the irony were intentional, [Irony? What irony? o{];¬) ] it couldn’t be more delicious, since Vatican 1 was all about papal authority. You’ve hit gold once again, Father Z!

  18. frsbr says:

    “mediveal” (sic) is a compliment, no?

  19. Mrs. O says:

    :D Sr R U Kidding!

  20. For those for whom typos are the major point of focus.


  21. brotherfee says:

    LCWR has to get Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein involved in this, if these guys can bring down the White House, they have a chance with the Vatican; and the WaPo would love it. (:-

    BTW: this protest reminds me of something out of that Catholic classic “Where angels go, trouble follows”. Free the Vatican1 indeed. (:-

  22. pattif says:

    Sr R U Kidding was the give-away for me! But it is true that truth and fiction are becoming alarmingly interchangeable.

  23. pattif: This whole thing is meant to underscore what these Fishwrap and LCWR types usually do: they turn some clown who creates embarrassment for the Holy See into a hero.

  24. Frankly these gals would be far more productive if they spent an afternoon with the mortician of their choice and got ready their “passin out party.”

    [To be fair, we should all have our affairs in order, because we know not either the day or the hour.]

  25. Northern Ox says:

    Actually, the butler’s not in solitary. He’s in a cell with a baker and a young man named Joseph …

  26. mike cliffson says:

    Why didn”t Sr Kidding mention St Barnabus Gospel and Pope Joan’s commentaries on the decretals? Wouldnt put it past her.BTW Fr perhaps your link is just a leetle OTT?

  27. heway says:

    Boy, oh boy!! These pant suit nuns are consecrated women! Such a lot of hateful nonsense – if you were my children I would wash your mouth out with soap!
    The Pope has already said that he does not believe this man is guilty of revealing documents that revealed hank panky in the Vatican. The man has worked there for 2 years, has a family and spends most of this free time with his children.

  28. terryprest says:

    The whole “Vatileaks” affair is a typical Italian journalistic melodrama of very little significance. The butler angle makes it more P.G. Wodehouse than Agatha Christie
    The story does not even begin to compare with the affair of another Papal domestic servant nearly 100 years ago when Monsignor Gerlach (of Bavarian extraction and a private chamberlain to the then Pope, Benedict XV) was accused of treason and espionage for passing on secrets to the Germans in 1917 during the First World War

  29. Emilio III says:

    It seems a nice touch to make this protest on the 220th anniversary of “the Liberal’s Principal Argument”: the guillotine.

  30. Random Friar says:

    From what I’ve heard and read, the Vatican jail deals mostly with pickpockets, and is not designed for long-term incarceration. This will be thrown to the Italians eventually, I imagine. I know that the situation with Italy is in flux, but where exactly, who knows?

    I was at a remote, remote Church overseas once, where the only jail for the town was a room below the sacristy of the little chapel. It pretty much served as a drunk tank and a place for hotheads to cool off for a little bit. Kind of like a grown-up cry room.

  31. catholicmidwest says:

    “Yes, the Vatican is just as medieval as we have always said it was. This just proves it.”

    I can’t believe she really said that. I love it. Yes, ma’am. It’s the same Catholic Church as that one we had in medieval times, and in fact in every period since the life of Christ all the way up until now. Continuity is the KEY!!

  32. catholicmidwest says:

    Medieval gets a bad rap because people malcharacterize that period in history, mostly due to ignorance. But what’s really interesting is that it was a period not so unlike our own (minus our technological bells & whistles, of course).

  33. wanda says:

    Dear Random Friar, ‘Kind of like a grown up cry room.’ Ha-ha-ha! Thank for the giggle. But,
    what a great concept! Law enforcement agencies should look into building a few of these things. They could even have portable ones brought in for the Occupy protests. A little time in the cry room may help some reconsider their behavior.

  34. FranzJosf says:

    I got the satire from the start. Funny. But when I went to the link you gave, I thought you’d done a parody of what a page of their web-site might be like. But, alas, it is really their site. I guess parody would be impossible. The “Systems Thinking Handbook” would be a real scream were it not real.

  35. John Nolan says:

    I would like to know in which campaign Fr Bourgeois was awarded the Military Medal. It doesn’t seem to have made the London Gazette.

  36. OrthodoxChick says:

    Sr. R. U. Kidding – good one!!!

    Wait a minute, I think I’ve heard of her before. She comes from a very devout Catholic family. She had a sister who also joined the same order, Sr. Gimm E. Abreak.

  37. Kathleen10 says:

    heehee, I had to GET to Sr. R. U. Kidding before I knew. Up til then I was not really surprised! How jaded is that!

  38. brotherfee says:

    “Sr. Gimm E. Abreak” ???

    That’s so bad, it’s actually funny. She’s not in the same order as Sr. Luce Canon, that self-proclaimed Canon lawyer with a short fuse and a loud vocal expression, is she? (:-

  39. OrthodoxChick says:

    Yes, same order, but from different families originally. Sr. Luce Canon also has a sibling who joined the same order: Sr. Luce Lee Professed!

  40. ray from mn says:

    Treason has traditionally been a capital crime punishable by the firing squad. Do the Swiss Guards have guns? Will they have to go out and buy some?

    Those halberds might be a gruesome if EWTN covers the execution live and in color!

  41. Maltese says:

    As I quoted over at Rorate I will re-quote a quote from Cicero here:

    A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague –Cicero

    If the allegations prove true, this is one of the greatest betrayals in the history of the papacy; I can’t imagine someone so trusted by the Pope capably of such treachery.

    If proved true, he should get all 30 years in prison.

  42. AnAmericanMother says:

    Northern Ox,

    Very good one.

  43. Lori Pieper says:

    I’m sure Fr. Bourgeois and the good sisters are now mad they didn’t think of this first!

  44. brotherfee says:

    “Northern Ox,

    Very good one.”

    Yes, but will the butler be restated to his former position in three days time? Depends on his dream, I guess.

  45. AnnAsher says:

    Funny Stuff. Btw I think the butler has been framed.

  46. Norah says:

    Maltese, those words attributed to Cicero seem very apposite for the Church today but I have Googled and can’t find any original document in which the quote appears so it may have been made up by someone and attributed to Cicero to give it cred. If you can produce an original source please let me know because I would like to use it.

  47. chantgirl says:

    Well, that just teaches me to skim-read a Fr. Z post so early in the afternoon. I was unable to attend my normal TLM and had to go to a “youth” Mass, and let’s just say it’s thrown off my entire equilibrium for the day. It’s kind of pathetic that such satire could pass for reality these days. Without those Mel Brooks names, none of us would have been the wiser, Fr.Z!

  48. Blaise says:

    Norah, my guess would be Matlese’s Cicero quotation, if genuine, is from one of the speeches “In Catilinam” or possibly the Philippics. I doubt Google would necessarily come up with every passage of Cicero in the right translation (as there are a huge number of his letters extant).

  49. Mariana says:

    I’m sure Sr. R.U. Kidding is the leftmost in the pic, very natty and un-medieval.

  50. irishgirl says:

    Oh, my goodness, that was a funny one, Father Z-especially when I saw the name of the ‘sister’: ‘R. U. Kidding’! Yes, that’s very ‘Mel Brooks’!
    Thanks for the laugh!
    Italian justice seems to border on farce, if you ask me…. [And that’s not all that borders on farce.]

  51. The Cobbler says:

    “I was at a remote, remote Church overseas once, where the only jail for the town was a room below the sacristy of the little chapel. It pretty much served as a drunk tank and a place for hotheads to cool off for a little bit. Kind of like a grown-up cry room.”
    @Random Friar, what language do I need to become fluent in to move to a town so empty of real trouble that the only jail they need is a grown-up cry room for hotheads to cool off in? It sounds like one of those places that’s tucked in some hidden corner of the world so well it won’t substantially change even if we get to 1984. Pity we couldn’t all move there without changing that.

  52. Mariana says:

    “what language do I need to become fluent in to move to a town so empty of real trouble that the only jail they need is a grown-up cry room for hotheads to cool off in?”

    What about Slovenian? I just saw a programme on the making of Prince Caspian, filmed in large part in a place called Bovec, in Slovenia. Breathtaking mountainous scenery, charming people, unspoilt, Catholic.

  53. Johnno says:

    All that said, this story with regards to the butler and all the other leaks is no laughing matter…

    It all paints a picture of deep division at the highest levels of the Church, it also singles out what many have been suspecting for awhile since the whole Fatima controversy and Vatican II… that the Secretary of State is more in control, of divisions of bishops and cardinals opposing each other.

    Our Lady has been warning us about this all the time and all the dirty laundry seems to be coming out into the light… We didn’t listen to her, and now we’re in the crisis we’re in.

    I pray the Pope and remaining faithful bishops consecrate Russia before it’s too late. Certainly we have faith that it will be done, but how much worse are things supposed to get before we finally obey Heaven?

  54. irishgirl says:

    Fr. Z: [‘And that’s not all that borders on farce’]:
    Touche, dear Padre, touche!
    This is all so weird….
    This past Sunday, after Mass at our little TLM chapel, I came across some members of the congregation outside. They were discussing what’s going on with this ‘Vatileaks’ scandal, and all they kept saying over and over was that ‘the modern Church is corrupt’. I tried to turn it to a more hopeful side by reminding them that, in spite of everything that’s going on over there, Our Lord will NOT ABANDON HIS CHURCH.
    We must trust in HIM to straighten this mess out! In HIS TIME, NOT OURS, He will separate the wheat from the chaff!

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