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Anonymous Re-issuing Threat to the Vatican?

Anonymous member wearing a Guy Fawkes mask.

Last night, the “hacktivist” group Anonymous posted a petition at Change.org along with a video (transcript at Anonymous website) that was originally posted on October 6.  The petition was linked, along with the Oct. 6 press release, at the Anonymous web chat last night. The video threatens to attack the Vatican both online and in the form of protests in St. Peter’s Square until Pope Benedict XVI issues a “pardon” for Paolo Gabriele and Claudio Sciarpelletti who were convicted in the “Vatileaks” case. Gabriele received an 18-month sentence and Sciarpelletti received a two-month sentence.

Why would Anonymous re-post this threat? It seems logical that it would be a response to whatever the most recent development is in the “Vatileaks” case. This occurred on Saturday as the Vatican court found Sciarpelletti’s testimony to be “not credible.”

The sentence records that Sciarpelletti changed his story a number of times about how secret documents came into his possession, and that his testimony was neither “credible” nor “truthful.”

When asked about his changing story at his trial, Sciarpelletti said he had the document so long that he forgot where it came from. His changing story led to the prosecutor seeking obstruction charges.

The testimony of both Gabriele and Monsignor Carlo M. Polvani, Sciarpelletti’s superior, were deemed to be more credible and consistent than his.

Sciarpelliti has decided not to appeal his conviction, which was handed down on November 10.

Another possibility is that this is an attempt to spark new protests in order to create a media distraction that could draw attention away from the fact that an Anonymous member was convicted yesterday for cyber attacks.

Though the word “scandal” often appears in secular media reports about the “Vatileaks” theft of private documents in the papal household, nothing scandalous ever really emerged. Anonymous is essentially asking for a pardon for people who allowed themselves to become thieves of private letters. To suggest that no one in the papal household has a right to send a private letter seems rather preposterous to me. If this were anyone else but the Pope, the privacy of personal letters would most likely be respected. Just as with any other human being, world leader or not, the Pope should be able to have people around him who he can trust not to reveal what he says in private. If everything the Pope says is demanded to be made public, what good is that to anyone but to teach the world that no one is safe?

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