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Pope Pardons Former Butler Who Stole Confidential Documents

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Dec. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Pope Benedict XVI pardoned Paolo Gabriele, his former butler, for stealing confidential papal documents, allowing him to be released from prison.

The Pope visited Gabriele in jail today “in order to confirm his forgiveness and communicate in person his decision to grant Mr. Gabriele’s request for pardon,” the Vatican said in a statement posted on its website. “This constitutes a paternal gesture towards a person with whom the Pope shared a relationship of daily familiarity for many years.”

Gabriele isn’t allowed to resume his previous duties or to continue living in Vatican City, according to the statement. “The Holy See, trusting in his sincere repentance, wishes to offer him the possibility of returning to a serene family life.”

Gabriele was convicted of theft by a Vatican tribunal Oct. 6 and was serving an 18-month sentence in a Vatican jail. Gabriele had admitted passing confidential documents to an Italian journalist, Gianluigi Nuzzi, who wrote the book “His Holiness: Pope Benedict XVI’s Secret Papers.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Liefgreen at dliefgreen@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tim Quinson at tquinson@bloomberg.net To contact the editor responsible for this story: