Pope's former butler moved to Vatican cell

Alan Johnston: "It is thought very likely in deed that the Pope will eventually pardon his wayward butler"

Related Stories

The Pope's former butler, found guilty of stealing papal documents, has been moved to a Vatican cell to serve the rest of his sentence.

Paolo Gabriele was given an 18-month prison sentence earlier this month.

He admitted passing documents to a journalist, but said he did it out of love for the Church and the Pope.

The Vatican secretary of state's office has left open the possibility of a papal pardon if Gabriele repents and seeks forgiveness.

As neither Gabriele's defence lawyer nor the Vatican prosecutor has entered an appeal, his sentence has now become definitive.

'Unrivalled access'

The BBC's David Willey, in Rome, says that Gabriele will serve his prison term in a special detention room inside the Vatican police station.

The Vatican authorities were worried, our correspondent says, that if he were to be moved into an Italian prison he might be subject to pressure to reveal secrets which might cause further embarrassment to the Pope.

The Vatican has dismissed suspicions of a wider plot, saying that Gabriele acted alone in obtaining the documents and giving them to an Italian journalist who published them.

The trial of his co-defendant, Claudio Sciarpelletti, is due to start in early November.

The computer expert is accused of helping Gabriele while working as in the Vatican's Secretariat of State.

Gabriele's trial heard that he had used the photocopier in his shared office next to the Pope's library to copy thousands of documents, taking advantage of his unrivalled access to the pontiff.

He later passed some of the documents to journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, who released a best-selling book about corruption, scandals and infighting at the Vatican, largely based on the confidential papers.

Its publication sparked the hunt for the source of the leaks inside the Vatican.

Gabriele confessed to taking the papers, but said he believed the Pope was being manipulated and hoped to reveal alleged corruption at the Vatican.

He told his trial that he did not see himself as a thief, but admitted he was guilty of "having betrayed the trust of the Holy Father, whom I love as a son would."

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Europe stories


Features & Analysis

  • A resin model of a sculpture illustrating the WW1 Christmas Truce football matchChristmas truce

    How France has forgotten the WW1 enemies who shook hands

  • Woman thinkingWho? What? Why?

    The questions of 2014, answered succinctly

  • Banda Aceh in 2004 and 2014Then and now

    Images of transformation 10 years on from the Indian Ocean tsunami

  • JACK O'Connell Big break

    Why Jack O'Connell is the talk of Hollywood

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Barn collectionFind of the century

    BBC Autos takes a look at the rusting car collection worth millions - discovered in a French barn


  • (File photo) A mother polar bear and two cubssThe Travel Show Watch

    From polar bear watching to crocodile conservation - highlights from 2014

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.