Pope Benedict XVI…Yesterday morning (22nd) the Holy Father Benedict XVI went to see Paolo Gabriele behind bars in order to confirm his mercy and to educate him personally of his approval of Mr Gabriele’s request for pardon,” the Vatican pointed out in a declaration.
Gabriele’s pardon was a “paternal action” for a man “with whom the pope shared a connection of everyday familiarity for many years.”
Nonetheless, the ex-butler “may not resume his previous occupation or continue to live in Vatican area,” it added.
After a 15 minute meeting with the Pope, Gabriele returned home to his spouse and 3 children, Vatican spokesperson Federico Lombardi pointed out. He had stayed a total of 3 and a half months in detention.
“The Holy See, trusting in his sincere repentance, wishes to offer him the possibility of returning to a serene family life,” the Vatican said.
Gabriele was found guilty in October of leaking sensitive memos to the press as part of a whistle-blowing campaign against what he said was “evil and corruption” in the Vatican.
Documents secretly copied and leaked in a case that has been dubbed “Vatileaks” included allegations by a former governor of the city state of massive fraud within its walls.
During the trial, Vatican police said they had found more than 1,000 secret documents, some photocopies but others originals, in Gabriele’s home, stolen from the papal palace.
These included letters from cardinals and politicians and papers the pontiff himself had marked “To Be Destroyed”.
Gabriele had said he wanted to “help” the pope who, he claimed, had been kept in ignorance of scandals inside the Vatican. The documents were handed to an Italian journalist, Gianluigi Nuzzi, who published them in a book.
While the disgraced butler was initially given a three-year jail term, the presiding judge reduced the sentence on the grounds of his past service to the Catholic Church and his apology to the pope for betraying him.