Pope pardons ex-butler jailed over Vatican leaks
December 23, 2012 -- Updated 1459 GMT (2259 HKT)
- Vatican spokesman: Pope Benedict XVI pardons his former butler, Paolo Gabriele
- Gabriele was given an 18-month prison term in October for aggravated theft
- He was convicted after leaking private papers from the pope's apartment
- The papers informed a book that revealed corruption claims within the Church hierarchy
(CNN) -- Pope Benedict XVI has pardoned his former butler, Paolo Gabriele, weeks after he was sentenced to 18 months in prison for leaking the pope's private papers, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said.
The pope visited Gabriele in prison "in order to confirm his forgiveness and communicate in person his decision to grant Mr. Gabriele's request for pardon, thereby remitting the sentence passed against the latter," said a Vatican statement.
"This constitutes a paternal gesture toward a person with whom the Pope shared a relationship of daily familiarity for many years."
Gabriele was immediately released and has returned home, the statement said.
Pope's butler fate decided by court
"Since he cannot resume his previous occupation or continue to live in Vatican City, the Holy See, trusting in his sincere repentance, wishes to offer him the possibility of returning to a serene family life," it said.
Gabriele, one of the pope's closest personal assistants, was convicted in October of aggravated theft for leaking secret papers from the pontiff's personal apartment to an author who included them in a best-selling book.
During the high-profile trial, Gabriele declared himself not guilty, but said he had abused the pope's trust. He asked forgiveness of the pontiff for his actions, which he said were intended to expose wrongdoing.
The Holy See media office had previously indicated that Gabriele could be pardoned. He has been held in a cell in Vatican City since October.
Gabriele was arrested in May, following a Vatican investigation into how the pope's private documents appeared in the book "Sua Santita" ("His Holiness"), by Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi.
The book, based on the papers, revealed claims of corruption in the church's hierarchy.
At his trial, police told how they found more than 1,000 important documents among a stash of hundreds of thousands of papers in Gabriele's apartments in Vatican City and Castel Gondolfo, a town near Rome.
Among them were original papers signed by Pope Benedict XVI, some of them stamped with an order for destruction, according to the journalists allowed to attend the trial.
Also found in his possession were a gold nugget belonging to the pope, a signed check made out to Pope Benedict XVI for 100,000 euros and an original version of Virgil's Aeneid from 1581.
Computer expert sentenced over Vatican leaks
CNN's Mitra Mobasherat contributed to this report.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.