VATICAN CITY — A Vatican court on Saturday (Oct. 6) sentenced Pope Benedict XVI’s former butler to 18 months in jail for stealing the pontiff’s private papers and leaking them to the press.
The butler, Paolo Gabriele, stood motionless as the tribunal’s president, Giuseppe Dalla Torre, read the sentence in the tiny courtroom of the world’s smallest state.
The conviction comes after an unprecedented weeklong trial, and could mark the end of the Vatileaks scandal that embarrassed the Vatican with allegations of corruption and infighting within the top hierarchy of the Catholic Church.
The Vatican’s chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said that there is a “very concrete” possibility that the pope will pardon his former aide, but the timing for such a decision is still unknown.
Gabriele is now back under house arrest in the Vatican home where he lives with his wife and three children. His lawyer, Cristiana Arru, said the sentence was “balanced” and that Gabriele would not appeal.