VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict’s former butler could serve time in a Vatican jail unless the 85-year old pontiff pardons him in the next few days.
The Tuesday (Oct. 23) announcement by the Vatican’s chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, reverses previous Vatican statements that, if convicted, Paolo Gabriele would eventually serve his jail term in an Italian prison.
Lombardi also seemed to somewhat downplay widespread talk about a papal pardon, saying one is “possible,” but it’s not known when or if the pope would grant it.
A Vatican tribunal sentenced Gabriele to 18 months on Oct. 6 for stealing the pope’s private papers and leaking them to the press.
The conviction came after the Vatican had been rocked for months by revelations of alleged corruption and infighting in the so-called Vatileaks affair.