Former papal butler begins 18-month sentence in Vatican prison cell
Published: October 25, 2012
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Paolo Gabriele, the pope's former butler who was found guilty of aggravated theft, was to be transferred from house arrest to a Vatican prison cell to begin his 18-month sentence. Because the Vatican's prosecutor decided not to file an appeal, Gabriele would immediately begin 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 Oct. 25. Gabriele, who worked at Pope Benedict XVI's side as his assistant since 2006, will not be allowed to seek any employment at the Vatican in the future, the spokesman said. Gabriele's violation of the trust of the pope and the privacy of so many people underlines his "incompatibility" with employment at the Vatican, he added. While the Vatican has begun the necessary paperwork for terminating Gabriele's employment, the Vatican will proceed "with humanity and attention," Father Lombardi told Catholic News Service, saying it 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. He will be detained in one of the recently refurbished prison cells inside the Vatican police barracks. In a communique issued the same day, 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 wrote.
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