Pope’s butler facing 18 months in Vatican jail

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict’s former butler could serve time in a Vatican jail unless the 85-year old pontiff pardons … Continued

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict’s former butler could serve time in a Vatican jail unless the 85-year old pontiff pardons him in the next few days.

The Tuesday (Oct. 23) announcement by the Vatican’s chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, reverses previous Vatican statements that, if convicted, Paolo Gabriele would eventually serve his jail term in an Italian prison.

Lombardi also seemed to somewhat downplay widespread talk about a papal pardon, saying one is “possible,” but it’s not known when or if the pope would grant it.

A Vatican tribunal sentenced Gabriele to 18 months on Oct. 6 for stealing the pope’s private papers and leaking them to the press.

The conviction came after the Vatican had been rocked for months by revelations of alleged corruption and infighting in the so-called Vatileaks affair.

Gabriele’s attorney decided not to appeal the conviction, but Vatican prosecutors still have “a few more days” to appeal the ruling, according to Lombardi. If they decide to leave the verdict unchallenged, the sentence will come into force and Gabriele will have to leave the Vatican home where he now lives under house arrest with his wife and three children.

Lombardi said Gabriele would be serving his sentence in the small detention facility inside the headquarters of the Vatican police, where Gabriele alleged he had suffered abuse during the two months he spent there after his arrest on May 23.

Lombardi said an investigation of Gabriele’s claims of mistreatment is ongoing.

Claudio Sciarpelletti, a Vatican technology expert who is accused of aiding and abetting Gabriele, will go on trial on Nov. 5, Lombardi said.

In the full text of the Oct. 6 conviction sentence, which was released on Tuesday, the Vatican court sharply criticized Gabriele’s actions as “harmful” to the workings of the Vatican, to the pope and to the wider Catholic Church. It also said they “violated” the pontiff’s right to “secrecy” and “good reputation.”

But the judges partially accepted the former’s butler defense that he had acted out of love for the church and the pope. They stressed that Gabriele’s motives were “erroneous” but nevertheless credible on account of his “simplistic” intellectual capacity.

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Religion News Service LLC.

Comments are closed.

Read More Articles

colbert
Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

emptytomb
God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

noplaceonearth
An Untold Story of Bondage to Freedom: Passover 1943

How a foxhole that led to a 77-mile cave system saved the lives of 38 Ukrainian Jews during the Holocaust.

Pile_of_trash_2
Pope Francis: Stop the Culture of Waste

What is the human cost of our tendency to throw away?

chapel door
“Sometimes You Find Something Quiet and Holy”: A New York Story

In a hidden, underground sanctuary, we were all together for a few minutes in this sweet and holy mystery.

shutterstock_178468880
Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

shutterstock_148333673
Friend or Foe? Learning from Judas About Friendship with Jesus

We call Judas a betrayer. Jesus called him “friend.”

shutterstock_53190298
Fundamentalist Arguments Against Fundamentalism

The all-or-nothing approach to the Bible used by skeptics and fundamentalists alike is flawed.

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

shutterstock_185995553
How to Debate Christians: Five Ways to Behave and Ten Questions to Answer

Advice for atheists taking on Christian critics.

HIFR
Heaven Hits the Big Screen

How “Heaven is for Real” went from being an unsellable idea to a bestselling book and the inspiration for a Hollywood movie.

shutterstock_186364295
This God’s For You: Jesus and the Good News of Beer

How Jesus partied with a purpose.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

SONY DSC
Dear Evangelicals, Please Reconsider Your Fight Against Gay Rights

A journalist and longtime observer of American religious culture offers some advice to his evangelical friends.

shutterstock_186686495
The End of Surveillance for New York Muslims — For Now

How American Muslims modeled the right response to systematic injustice.

sunset-hair
From Passover to Easter: Why I’m Grateful to be Jewish, Christian, and Alive

Passover with friends. Easter with family. It’s almost enough to make you believe in God.