What will the Pope's butler see?

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19 Sep, 2013 Updated Thu 19 Sep 2013 17:14 CEST
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A new butler was this week announced to serve Pope Francis. After the Vatileaks scandal saw the last butler banished, all eyes are on Piergiorgio Zanetti - the Pope’s new right-hand man.


Who is Piergiorgio Zanetti?

Piergiorgio Zanetti is a former policeman who this week was named as Pope Francis’ new butler. He is also related to a priest in the papal’s home country of Argentina.

What does being the Pope’s butler involve?

Zanetti will be the Pope’s right-hand man. Past butlers have been known to help the Pope dress and serve him meals. Papal Butlers also have the luxury of riding on the popemobile and joining the pontiff on foreign trips.

His will not however be allowed to wear one of the jester-like uniforms of the Vatican’s Swiss Guard and instead will most likely be seen in a suit.

Will Zanetti work alone?

No. He will also work closely with Sandro Mariotti, who has been serving Pope Francis since he was elected in March.

Two private secretaries, Father Alfred Xuereb and Father Fabian Pedacchio Leani'z, are also part of the Pope’s staff, Vatican Insider said.

How close will Zanetti be to the Pope?

The new butler will be welcomed into the Pope’s most intimate circles.

Few laypeople are allowed close relationships with the Catholic leader, whereas Zanetti will be at Pope Francis’ side both in public and in private.

What happened to the last Pope’s butler?

He was sent to prison and then banished from the Vatican, in what became known as the ‘Vatileaks’ scandal.

Paolo Gabriele was Pope Benedict XVI's butler until a dramatic fall from grace last year, after he leaked secret Vatican documents to an Italian journalist.

Gabriele said he acted out of love towards the Pope, but the plea was rejected by the Vatican court and he was sentenced to 18 months in prison. After three months he was pardoned by the pontiff, but thrown out of the Vatican.

How will life with Pope Francis be different?

The level of expected secrecy will remain the same, but Zanetti’s new boss has quite a different approach to the former pontiff.

Now that Pope Francis has been given an old Renault 4 by a priest, the popemobile days may well be over.

Zanetti may also be called upon to help with the Pope’s busy phone call schedule, as the Argentine pontiff has been busy calling the faithful in recent months.

Being at the side of one of the world’s most powerful leaders will also have its perks, such as meeting the Italian football team.

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2013/09/19 17:14

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