Pope’s former butler starts 18-month jail sentence

Paolo Gabriele, the pope’s former butler who was found guilty of aggravated theft, started his 18-month jail sentence in a Vatican prison cell.

Gabriele began serving his prison sentence by order of a Vatican court, said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman.

“The order will be carried out before the end of the day,” he said on Thursday.

He will be detained in one of the recently refurbished prison cells inside the Vatican police barracks.

Lombardi said Gabriele will not be able to seek any employment in the Vatican in the future. He added that Gabriele’s violation of the trust of the pope and the privacy of so many people underlines his “incompatibility” with employment at the Vatican.

The Vatican will proceed “with humanity and attention,” Lombardi told the Catholic News Service. The spokesman said the Vatican will take into consideration the fact that the 46-year-old Italian was supporting a family with three children in an apartment on Vatican property.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, said Gabriele’s crime caused great damage to the pope and to the universal church.

By stealing private correspondence to and from the pope, and other sensitive documents, and by leaking them to an Italian journalist, Gabriele committed “a personal offence against the Holy Father,” the cardinal was quoted in a CNS report.

His actions also “violated the right to privacy of many people; created prejudice against the Holy See and its different institutions; created an obstacle between the communications of the world’s bishops and the Holy See; and caused scandal to the community of the faithful,” Bertone said.

After a Vatican-led investigation, which started in May, and four days of courtroom proceedings attended by a pool of Vatican journalists, Gabriele was found guilty of aggravated theft and sentenced on Oct. 6.

Cardinal Bertone said the whole process was carried out with “transparency, equanimity, and in full respect of the rights” of the accused.


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , ,