Pope’s Ex-Butler Convicted For Theft

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 6 2012 12:40 PM

Pope’s Former Butler Convicted of Leaking Documents, Will Likely Be Pardoned

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Paolo Gabriele listens as the verdict in his trial is delivered at Vatican Courthouse on Saturday

Photo by L'Osservatore Romano Vatican Pool via Getty Images

The butler did it! Well, we actually already knew that. Pope Benedict’s former butler Paolo Gabriele had readily admitted he was the source of the leaks of highly sensitive Vatican documents, amounting to the worst security breach in the Holy See’s recent history. On Saturday, a Vatican court usually accustomed to dealing with cases of petty theft in the world’s smallest city state, sentenced Gabriele to 18 months detention. A Vatican spokesman said the pope would “most likely” pardon Gabriele, reports Reuters.

Until he receives the expected pardon, Gabriele will serve his sentence under house arrest in his Vatican apartment. There are still questions about whether anyone else was involved in the leak, points out the Associated Press. But for now, Pope Benedict XVI is likely glad the weeklong trial came to an end the day before he is scheduled to open a two-week meeting of the world’s bishops.

Gabriele had insisted he leaked the documents because he was concerned the pope wasn’t aware of the “evil and corruption” that exist in the Vatican and thought that exposing the problem publicly could lead to changes in the Holy See.

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"The thing I feel strongly in me is the conviction that I acted out of exclusive love, I would say visceral love, for the church of Christ and its visible head," Gabriele said. "I do not feel like a thief."

It’s likely that an arrangement will be made so that Gabriele doesn’t lose his pension and his home, points out the BBC’s David Willey.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.