Pope pardons ex-butler for stealing, leaked documents

Pope Benedict XVI granted his former butler a Christmas pardon Saturday, forgiving him in person during a jailhouse meeting for stealing and leaking his private papers in one of the gravest Vatican security breaches in recent times.

After the 15-minute meeting, Paolo Gabriele was freed and returned to his Vatican City apartment where he lives with his wife and three children. The Vatican said he couldn’t continue living or working in the Vatican, but said it would find him housing and a job elsewhere soon.

“This is a paternal gesture toward someone with whom the pope for many years shared daily life,” according to a statement from the Vatican secretariat of state.

The pardon closes a painful and embarrassing chapter for the Vatican, capping a sensational, Hollywood-like scandal that exposed power struggles, intrigue and allegations of corruption and homosexual liaisons in the highest levels of the Catholic Church.

Gabriele, 46, was arrested May 23 after Vatican police found what they called an “enormous” stash of papal documents in his Vatican City apartment. He was convicted of aggravated theft by a Vatican tribunal on Oct. 6 and has been serving his 18-month sentence in the Vatican police barracks.

He told Vatican investigators he gave the documents to Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi because he thought the 85-year-old pope wasn’t being informed of the “evil and corruption” in the Vatican and thought that exposing it publicly would put the church back on the right track.

During the trial, Gabriele testified that he loved the pope “as a son loves his father” and said he never meant to hurt the pontiff or the church. A photograph taken during the meeting Saturday — the first between Benedict and his once trusted butler since his arrest — showed Gabriele dressed in his typical dark gray suit, smiling.

The publication of the leaked documents, first on Italian television then in Nuzzi’s book “His Holiness: Pope Benedict XVI’s Secret Papers” convulsed the Vatican all year, a devastating betrayal of the pope from within his papal family that exposed the unseemly side of the Catholic Church’s governance.

The papal pardon had been widely expected before Christmas, and the jailhouse meeting Benedict used to personally deliver it recalled the image of Pope John Paul II visiting Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish gunman who shot him in 1981, while he served his sentence in an Italian prison.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the meeting was “intense” and “personal” and said that during it Benedict “communicated to him in person that he had accepted his request for pardon, commuting his sentence.”

Lombardi said the Vatican hoped the Benedict’s pardon and Gabriele’s freedom would allow the Holy See to return to work “in an atmosphere of serenity.”

None of the leaked documents threatened the papacy. Most were of interest only to Italians, as they concerned relations between Italy and the Vatican and a few local scandals and personalities. Their main aim appeared to be to discredit Benedict’s trusted No. 2, the secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

Vatican officials have said the theft, though, shattered the confidentiality that typically governs correspondence with the pope. Cardinals, bishops and everyday laymen write to him about spiritual and practical matters assuming that their words will be treated with the discretion for which the Holy See is known.

As a result, the leaks prompted a remarkable reaction, with the pope naming a commission of three cardinals to investigate alongside Vatican prosecutors. Italian news reports have said new security measures and personnel checks have been put in place to prevent a repeat offense.

Gabriele insisted he acted alone, with no accomplices, but it remains an open question whether any other heads will roll. Technically the criminal investigation remains open, and few in the Vatican believe Gabriele could have construed such a plot without at least the endorsement if not the outright help of others. But Lombardi said he had no new information to release about any new investigative leads, saying the pardon “closed a sad and painful chapter” for the Holy See.

Nuzzi, who has supported Gabriele as a hero for having exposed corruption in the Vatican, tweeted Saturday that it appeared the butler was thrilled to speak with the pope and go home. “Unending joy for him, but the problems of the curia and power remain,” he wrote, referring to the Vatican bureaucracy.

A Vatican computer expert, Claudio Sciarpelletti, was convicted Nov. 10 of aiding and abetting Gabriele by changing his testimony to Vatican investigators about the origins of an envelope with Gabriele’s name on it that was found in his desk. His two-month sentence was suspended. Lombardi said a pardon was expected for him as well. He recently returned to work in the Vatican.

Benedict met this past week with the cardinals who investigated the origins of the leaks, but it wasn’t known if they provided him with any further updates or were merely meeting ahead of the expected pardon for Gabriele.

As supreme executive, legislator and judge in Vatican City, the pope had the power to pardon Gabriele at any time. The only question was when.

Associated Press

  • Hannibal

    Now THAT is a religious man to talk about…
    To ALL YALIBNAN Staff, readers and bloggers Have a MERRY Christmas and a Happy New Year 2013 (specially now that the Mayan’s prophecy was wrong ;) )
    Also take a look at this:
    Israel and Iran: A love story? : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Lp-NMaU0r8
    Very interesting story…

    • Prophettttt

      Very interesting story indeed. Maybe they should stop having Israeli  children sign missiles and bombs next time a war break out. THAT WOULD BE A GOOD START.
      Merry Christmas .

      • Hannibal

        Agree… Whatever that was it would scar kids on both sides… Kids should never be allowed to sign weapons condoning subliminally that the other side is not human. That was shameful. 
        I’ve heard Israeli soldiers saying openly on cameras that Palestinians are not humans… The only way you can kill a human is by dehumanizing him. I want to believe though that the Mayan calendar was only saying it is the end of the age of evil and the beginning of a peaceful and a just era. It’s Christmas… I can dream… When Jesus was born it is said that an angel appeared to the shepherds and said today it is born to you a King and his name is Amanu-eel meaning the Lord is with you, and He is a King of Peace…

        • 5thDrawer

          Too sad the stuff children learn on both sides of that set of conflicts.

    • Persistent

      Truely, it is a heartwarming story, may be we Lebanese show learn a lesson or two from this story and begin greeting each others in this fashion…..

    • Constantin7

      Nice story in this time of Christmas. Hopefully there will be such a story between Lebanon and Israel next time, but unfortunately we’re too busy hating each other in Lebanon and don’t have time and energy for the next door neighbor/ennemy. If we have peace in the heart, we will have it on the ground. I pray for peace in the hearts, with the birth of the King of Peace that’s all I can wish for all my Lebanese compatriots, and all the Middle East including Israelis. I am dreaming of driving from Beirut to Nazareth, Jerusalem and Beit Lehem and visit the holy land, which I intend to visit sooner or later whether stupid politics allow it or not.

      Merry Christmas to ALL (Muslims, Christians, Druze and Jews for Jesus)

      • Prophettttt

        constantine7, Merry Christmas to you and to all.
        I want to use this occasion to give you an example of the kind of tolerance and teachings I was brought up with when it comes Jesus and Christianity. Though We may view Jesus diffidently, we both believe in what He intended to teach humanity.
        I assure you that the message in this Article  represent the beliefs of the greatest majority of Muslims I know and associate myself with.Though religion has never been and will never  be a condition for friendship and respect in my book, but the lack of such tolerance is a condition because we’re all human,and we were never born with a religion,but rather into an a society that thought us to belong to one.
        You may not agree with the characterization of Jesus,but I’m sure you will agree with spirit of the message of what Jesus was all about.
        Monday, December 24, 2012 – 05:54 PM,Addyar News paper. I posted it in Arabic so that nothing is lost in translation.
        أشار السيد علي فضل الله إلى أهمية أن نحتفل بالسيد المسيح كرسول من رسل الله، وأن يكون هذا الاحتفال رسوليا ورساليا، وبعيدا عن عناصر الاستعراض التي يتحرك فيها الكثيرون. وقال: «لقد كان السيد المسيح نفاعا للناس، وكان رحمة لهم، فعلينا أن نتلمس طرق الهداية والمحبة والعطاء التي نستطيع من خلالها أن ننفع الناس، وأن نقدم لهم ما يمكن أن يخفف عنهم المآسي والأحزان والأوجاع، وخصوصا في هذه المراحل الصعبة التي نعيشها، والتي تزدحم فيها المشاكل وتتراكم فيها الآلام، آلام اليتم والفقر، وكذلك آلام التشرد والنزوح، كما يحدث في هذه الأيام للنازحين من سوريا، بفعل اشتداد الأزمة، ورفض الكثيرين للحوار أو العمل لحلول سياسية ناجعة». 
        وتحدث فضل الله، في احتفال اقامه برعايته مكتب الخدمات الاجتماعية التابع لمؤسسة سماحة العلامة المرجع السيد محمد حسين فضل الله، في قاعة المحاضرات في مسجد الإمامين الحسنين في حارة حريك، لمناسبة ولادة السيد المسيح، وتم في خلاله تكريم أكثر من خمسين يتيما من أيتام المؤسسة. 
        ودعاه إلى «مساعدة النازحين بكل الإمكانات المتاحة، لأن الإسلام يحضنا على ذلك، ولأن في ذلك تخفيفا عن آلامهم ومشاكلهم الكبرى». وأكد أنه «كما حارب المسيح لصوص الهيكل وطردهم منه، فإن علينا أن نستلهم حركته لطرد لصوص الأوطان، وخصوصا الصهاينة، الذين يمعنون هذه الأيام في ممارساتهم الإرهابية ضد الشعب الفلسطيني»، مؤكدا «أن الاحتفال بميلاد عيسى، يحتم علينا أن نكون مع المظلومين في العالم، وأن نقف ضـد الظالمين، بصرف النظر عن هوية الظالم أو المظلوم». 
        وختم داعيا إلى «تضافر الجهود لدعم المؤسسات التي ترعى الأيتام والفقراء والمحتاجين»، مشددا على «أن هذه المؤسسات سدت الكثير من الفجوات التي أحدثها غياب الدولة في لبنان على المستويات الاجتماعية والاقتصادية وغيرها». 
        وفي ختام الاحتفال، تم توزيع الهدايا، وهي مقدمة من الإعلامية زينب عدنان المولى.. ثم زار الجميع ضريح المرجع السيد فضل الله، حيث تمت قراءة الفاتحة.

        • Constantin7

          Hi Prophetttt,

          This is the first time I respond to somebody from my own personal e-mail, as I don’t know how to respond in the same article when the article does not show anymore on Yalibnan, as after few days the article disappears. I hope you get my repsonse, as it is late too because I was busy with Christmas and the festivities.
          I completely agree with the message, as I was a big fan of Mohammad Hussein Fadllallah. It seems that his son is continuing the mission of his father. It does not surprise me that he refers to Jesus for all the good that he is preaching, after all Jesus in the Kuran is the only prophet who was born in a miraculous birth, the only human who lived without sin, the only prophet who healed the sick and raised the dead, the only prophet who is going to come at the end of time to save humanity, he is the word of God and he is the spirit of God (so the word of God or the spirit of God means he is God). So just with these qualities in the Kuran, Jesus is way much more important than any prophet in the Kuran (in my opinion), yet he is so marginalised and not given any real importance by muslims while Mohammad, Hussein, Ali and others are almost revered like God and more (sometimes). In any case, I agree very much with the message and its spirit, because the spirit of the message is LOVE and Respect between humans, if we love each other our father in heaven will love us. Unfortunately, as you admitted, this is one way of Islam of seeing things but there are many other ways who do not agree with this philosphy and spirit and for them killing others (even innocents) would lead them to heaven. Finally, Merry Christmas to you and your family. As we say in Arabic: Al Majdoo lil llah fil uula wa aala el ardi alsalam. Unfortunately my Keyboard is in English, and cannot type my messages in Arabic, or is there a way to type them in Arabic ? I am not a computer wiz !

      • Prophettttt

        Constantine7, I’ve always believed that it is better to listen in order to understand the views of others, than to listen in order to make an argument or to prepare a convincing response. You seem to share the same belief that I have and your reply comment is a good example of that. You’ve always had my respect even when we’re in disagreement.
        I just want to elaborate on a point you touched on, which is the importance of Jesus to Muslims. I believe that Muslims view the importance of Jesus and Moses as second to prophet Mohammad since He’s believed to be the last prophet with the last direct word from God. As of why Ali and Hussein appear to be very important to Muslims (and especially Shia Muslims) and why Omar and Abu baker and others are as important to Sunni Muslims is because of some important events in the history of Islam and how events unfolded after the death of the prophet Mohammad. These events played a big role on the various schools of thoughts in Islam, and unfortunately they still do. The importance of these Muslims figures has to do with the conflict between the sects, but the importance of Jesus goes beyond that. Jesus‘s importance can never and will never be underestimated nor understated by Muslims but the competition among the two sects have distracted both and made them busy defending their schools of thought. At least this is what I think since I never make a claim of expertise on this subject. With that, I wish you and everyone else a happy, healthy, and peaceful New Year.
        Quick tip; Your Disqus Dashboard provides you with access to any Article you have commented on,in the event a specific article disappeared from yalibnan page.

    • Mahdi Kenaani

      did you read some of the comments made by iraniangels? shocking right? god help arab nations around israHELL if their wishes come true.. the iraniangel respond to this israHELLi campaign proves my point as well. 
      anyway merry xmas and a happy new year to you too… ps. of course the prophecy was wrong… jesus and imam mahdi havent arrived yet.. what were you thinking?

      • Prophettttt

        LOL. The thought of Jesus and Imam Mahdi appearing together may not please Hannibal much.
        Happy holidays .Everyone should celebrate all holidays regardless of whether one believes in them or not. The more the merrier.
        As Shakespeare put it :”I had rather have a fool to make me merry than experience to make me sad”. Life is too short.

        • Mahdi Kenaani

          you cant lead a normal life with holidays coming up every single day which is likely to happen… i mean muslims believe that god has sent more than 120 000 prophets, now imagine what a mess it would be if we were to celebrate all their birthdays… 

      • Prophettttt

        Mahdi,  You must be feeling your age.Are you saying you won’t celebrate my B’day?lol

  • Hannibal

    Now THAT is a religious man to talk about…
    To ALL YALIBNAN Staff, readers and bloggers Have a MERRY Christmas and a Happy New Year 2013 (specially now that the Mayan’s prophecy was wrong ;) )
    Also take a look at this:
    Israel and Iran: A love story? : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Lp-NMaU0r8
    Very interesting story…

    • Prophettttt

      Very interesting story indeed. Maybe they should stop having Israeli  children sign missiles and bombs next time a war break out. THAT WOULD BE A GOOD START.
      Merry Christmas .

      • Hannibal

        Agree… Whatever that was it would scar kids on both sides… Kids should never be allowed to sign weapons condoning subliminally that the other side is not human. That was shameful. 
        I’ve heard Israeli soldiers saying openly on cameras that Palestinians are not humans… The only way you can kill a human is by dehumanizing him. I want to believe though that the Mayan calendar was only saying it is the end of the age of evil and the beginning of a peaceful and a just era. It’s Christmas… I can dream… When Jesus was born it is said that an angel appeared to the shepherds and said today it is born to you a King and his name is Amanu-eel meaning the Lord is with you, and He is a King of Peace…

        • 5thDrawer

          Too sad the stuff children learn on both sides of that set of conflicts.

    • Persistent

      Truely, it is a heartwarming story, may be we Lebanese show learn a lesson or two from this story and begin greeting each others in this fashion…..

    • Constantin7

      Nice story in this time of Christmas. Hopefully there will be such a story between Lebanon and Israel next time, but peace should start in our hearts first. If we have peace in the heart, we will have it on the ground. I pray for peace in the hearts, with the birth of the King of Peace that’s all I can wish for all my Lebanese compatriots, and all the Middle East including Israelis. I am dreaming of driving from Beirut to Nazareth, Jerusalem and Beit Lehem and visit the holy land, which I intend to visit sooner or later whether stupid politics allow it or not.

      • Prophettttt

        constantine7, Merry Christmas to you and to all.
        I want to use this occasion to give you an example of the kind of tolerance and teachings I was brought up with when it comes Jesus and Christianize. Though We may view Jesus diffidently, we both believe in what He intended to teach humanity.
        I assure you that the message in this Article  represent the beliefs of the greatest majority of Muslims I know and associate myself with.Though religion has never been and will never  be a condition for friendship and respect in my book, but the lack of such tolerance is a condition because we’re all human,and we were never born with a religion,but rather into an a society that thought us to belong to one.
        You may not agree with the characterization of Jesus,but I’m sure you will agree with spirit of the message of what Jesus was all about.
        Monday, December 24, 2012 – 05:54 PM,Al dyar News paper.
        أشار السيد علي فضل الله إلى أهمية أن نحتفل بالسيد المسيح كرسول من رسل الله، وأن يكون هذا الاحتفال رسوليا ورساليا، وبعيدا عن عناصر الاستعراض التي يتحرك فيها الكثيرون. وقال: «لقد كان السيد المسيح نفاعا للناس، وكان رحمة لهم، فعلينا أن نتلمس طرق الهداية والمحبة والعطاء التي نستطيع من خلالها أن ننفع الناس، وأن نقدم لهم ما يمكن أن يخفف عنهم المآسي والأحزان والأوجاع، وخصوصا في هذه المراحل الصعبة التي نعيشها، والتي تزدحم فيها المشاكل وتتراكم فيها الآلام، آلام اليتم والفقر، وكذلك آلام التشرد والنزوح، كما يحدث في هذه الأيام للنازحين من سوريا، بفعل اشتداد الأزمة، ورفض الكثيرين للحوار أو العمل لحلول سياسية ناجعة». 
        وتحدث فضل الله، في احتفال اقامه برعايته مكتب الخدمات الاجتماعية التابع لمؤسسة سماحة العلامة المرجع السيد محمد حسين فضل الله، في قاعة المحاضرات في مسجد الإمامين الحسنين في حارة حريك، لمناسبة ولادة السيد المسيح، وتم في خلاله تكريم أكثر من خمسين يتيما من أيتام المؤسسة. 
        ودعاه إلى «مساعدة النازحين بكل الإمكانات المتاحة، لأن الإسلام يحضنا على ذلك، ولأن في ذلك تخفيفا عن آلامهم ومشاكلهم الكبرى». وأكد أنه «كما حارب المسيح لصوص الهيكل وطردهم منه، فإن علينا أن نستلهم حركته لطرد لصوص الأوطان، وخصوصا الصهاينة، الذين يمعنون هذه الأيام في ممارساتهم الإرهابية ضد الشعب الفلسطيني»، مؤكدا «أن الاحتفال بميلاد عيسى، يحتم علينا أن نكون مع المظلومين في العالم، وأن نقف ضـد الظالمين، بصرف النظر عن هوية الظالم أو المظلوم». 
        وختم داعيا إلى «تضافر الجهود لدعم المؤسسات التي ترعى الأيتام والفقراء والمحتاجين»، مشددا على «أن هذه المؤسسات سدت الكثير من الفجوات التي أحدثها غياب الدولة في لبنان على المستويات الاجتماعية والاقتصادية وغيرها». 
        وفي ختام الاحتفال، تم توزيع الهدايا، وهي مقدمة من الإعلامية زينب عدنان المولى.. ثم زار الجميع ضريح المرجع السيد فضل الله، حيث تمت قراءة الفاتحة. 

        • Constantin7

          Hi Prophetttt,

          This is the first time I respond to somebody from my own personal e-mail, as I don’t know how to respond in the same article when the article does not show anymore on Yalibnan, as after few days the article disappears. I hope you get my repsonse, as it is late too because I was busy with Christmas and the festivities.
          I completely agree with the message, as I was a big fan of Mohammad Hussein Fadllallah. It seems that his son is continuing the mission of his father. It does not surprise me that he refers to Jesus for all the good that he is preaching, after all Jesus in the Kuran is the only prophet who was born in a miraculous birth, the only human who lived without sin, the only prophet who healed the sick and raised the dead, the only prophet who is going to come at the end of time to save humanity, he is the word of God and he is the spirit of God (so the word of God or the spirit of God means he is God). So just with these qualities in the Kuran, Jesus is way much more important than any prophet in the Kuran (in my opinion), yet he is so marginalised and not given any real importance by muslims while Mohammad, Hussein, Ali and others are almost revered like God and more (sometimes). In any case, I agree very much with the message and its spirit, because the spirit of the message is LOVE and Respect between humans, if we love each other our father in heaven will love us. Unfortunately, as you admitted, this is one way of Islam of seeing things but there are many other ways who do not agree with this philosphy and spirit and for them killing others (even innocents) would lead them to heaven. Finally, Merry Christmas to you and your family. As we say in Arabic: Al Majdoo lil llah fil uula wa aala el ardi alsalam. Unfortunately my Keyboard is in English, and cannot type my messages in Arabic, or is there a way to type them in Arabic ? I am not a computer wiz !

      • Prophettttt

        Constantine7, I’ve always believed that it is better to listen in order to understand the views of others, than to listen in order to make an argument or to prepare a convincing response. You seem to share the same belief that I have and your reply comment is a good example of that. You’ve always had my respect even when we’re in disagreement.
        I just want to elaborate on a point you touched on, which is the importance of Jesus to Muslims. I believe that Muslims view the importance of Jesus and Moses as second to prophet Mohammad since He’s believed to be the last prophet with the last direct word from God. As of why Ali and Hussein appear to be very important to Muslims (and especially Shia Muslims) and why Omar and Abu baker and others are as important to Sunni Muslims is because of some important events in the history of Islam and how events unfolded after the death of the prophet Mohammad. These events played a big role on the various schools of thoughts in Islam, and unfortunately they still do. The importance of these Muslims figures has to do with the conflict between the sects, but the importance of Jesus goes beyond that. Jesus‘s importance can never and will never be underestimated nor understated by Muslims but the competition among the two sects have distracted both and made them busy defending their schools of thought. At least this is what I think since I never make a claim of expertise on this subject. With that, I wish you and everyone else a happy, healthy, and peaceful New Year.

    • Mahdi Kenaani

      did you read some of the comments made by iraniangels? shocking right? god help arab nations around israHELL if their wishes come true.. the iraniangel respond to this israHELLi campaign proves my point as well. 
      anyway merry xmas and a happy new year to you too… ps. of course the prophecy was wrong… jesus and imam mahdi havent arrived yet.. what were you thinking?

      • Prophettttt

        LOL. The thought of Jesus and Imam Mahdi appearing together may not please Hannibal much.
        Happy holidays .Everyone should celebrate all holidays regardless of whether one believes in them or not. The more the merrier.
        As Shakespeare put it :”I had rather have a fool to make me merry than experience to make me sad”. Life is too short.

        • Mahdi Kenaani

          you cant lead a normal life with holidays coming up every single day which is likely to happen… i mean muslims believe that god has sent more than 120 000 prophets, now imagine what a mess it would be if we were to celebrate all their birthdays… 

      • Prophettttt

        Mahdi,  You must be feeling your age.Are you saying you won’t celebrate my B’day?lol

  • Persistent

    Merry christmas and a happy and a healthy new year filled with joy, love, peace, success and prosperity to all mankind around the globe…. 

  • Persistent

    Merry christmas and a happy and a healthy new year filled with joy, love, peace, success and prosperity to all mankind around the globe….