(Vatican Radio) On Saturday, Pope Benedict XVI visited his former-Butler Paolo Gabriele in the Vatican prison to personally tell him that he is forgiven and pardoned for his crimes. Emer McCarthy reports:
Holy See Press Office director, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., informed journalists: “This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI visited Paolo Gabriele in prison in order to confirm his forgiveness and to inform him personally of his acceptance of Mr Gabriele's request for pardon, thereby remitting the sentence passed against the latter. This constitutes a paternal gesture towards a person with whom the Pope shared a relationship of daily familiarity for many years.
Mr Gabriele was subsequently released from prison and has returned home. 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”.
A 46-year-old father of three, Paolo Gabriele was arrested May 23, 2012, after Vatican police found papal documents in his apartment. He was convicted of aggravated theft by a Vatican tribunal on Oct. 6 and had been serving his 18-month sentence in the Vatican Gendarme police barracks.
Gabriele had handed most of the Holy Father’s private and personal documents over to an Italian journalist who subsequently published them.