Pope Francis’ chief bodyguard resigned Monday over a leak related to an ongoing financial investigation, the Vatican said.
Domenico Giani, 57, “bears no personal responsibility” for the leak, but was stepping aside to allow the investigation to proceed, the Vatican said in a statement.
A Vatican police flyer signed by Giani — the commander of the Vatican Gendarmerie — was leaked to the press on October 2. The document identified five Vatican employees who were suspended pending an investigation of financial wrongdoing.
The person who leaked the document remains unknown.
Pope Francis met at length with Giani about his resignation, according to the Vatican statement, and “expressed appreciation for his gesture” and his 20 years of “unquestionable faithfulness and loyalty.”
In an interview with the Vatican News, Giani said the leak had “trampled the dignity of these people” being investigated.
“As Commander, I too was ashamed of what has happened and of the suffering caused to these people,” he said in the interview. “For this reason, having always said and testified that I am ready to sacrifice my life to defend the life of the Pope, with the same spirit I have taken the decision to hand over my charge so as not to damage in any way the image and activity of the Holy Father.”
Giani has served as bodyguard to three popes: Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.