ROME — Paolo Gabriele, who because the butler of Pope Benedict XVI was convicted of leaking inside Vatican paperwork to the information media in a rare breach of church secrecy — the so-called Vatileaks scandal — died on Tuesday in Rome. He was 54.
The Vatican stated his loss of life, in a hospital, got here after an extended sickness. It didn’t specify the trigger.
Mr. Gabriele had been working within the papal family for six years when, as he confessed in 2012, he started stealing confidential paperwork from the Apostolic Palace, the pope’s ornate residence, and passing them to an Italian journalist, Gianluigi Nuzzi. Mr. Nuzzi, on a tv present and in a e book, used the paperwork to reveal cronyism and corruption throughout the secretive Vatican’s partitions.
Some letters and memos hinted at energy performs amongst vying factions; others advised mismanagement in Vatican departments; nonetheless others carried allegations of corruption and mishandling of funds within the Holy See. Collectively the information depicted a divided establishment and supplied a grim view of Vatican politics.
Mr. Gabriele was arrested two weeks after Mr. Nuzzi’s e book, “His Holiness: The Secret Papers of Pope Benedict XVI,” was printed. A whole bunch of photocopied paperwork had been present in Mr. Gabriele’s condominium inside Vatican Metropolis. He spent virtually two months in a holding cell on the Vatican earlier than being launched to deal with arrest.
Mr. Gabriele admitted that he had stolen the paperwork within the perception that Benedict was not conscious of what was taking place round him. Throughout his trial in a Vatican courtroom, he stated he had thought that making the information public would supply “a shock, maybe by the media,” that might “carry the church again heading in the right direction.”
He testified that Benedict would usually ask him questions on particular matters and that the character of the questions indicated to him that the pope was uninformed or misinformed. He was satisfied, he stated, that the Holy Spirit had guided him within the thefts, which went on for a lot of months.
“Seeing evil and corruption in all places within the church, I lastly reached a degree of degeneration, a degree of no return, and will not management myself,” he stated.
In October 2012, Mr. Gabriele was sentenced to 18 months in jail on fees of theft and divulging labeled paperwork. The courtroom took into consideration that Mr. Gabriele believed, “albeit erroneously,” that his motivations for leaking the paperwork had been pure.
Benedict, as anticipated, pardoned him a number of weeks later, in time for Mr. Gabriele to spend Christmas along with his spouse and three youngsters, who survive him.
A number of months later, Benedict, at 85, grew to become the first pope in modern history to resign.
Some Vatican watchers believed that Mr. Gabriele was a scapegoat for others who had been behind the leaks however whose identities had been by no means found.
Paolo Gabriele grew up in Rome, the place he studied positive arts in highschool. Earlier than turning into the pope’s butler, he labored for years on the Secretariat of State, the division that governs the small city-state that’s the Vatican.
After his pardon, he labored for an affiliation that helps the households of sufferers on the Vatican-owned pediatric hospital Bambino Gesu in Rome.
The Rev. Federico Lombardi, who had been Benedict’s spokesman, informed the Italian information company Adnkronos after Mr. Gabriele’s loss of life that he had had a “good relationship” with him, although a “superficial” one.
“What occurred remained a thriller to me,” Father Lombardi stated. “I couldn’t see justify that supply of paperwork — extraordinarily grave.”
He recalled that Benedict had needed a trial despite the fact that Mr. Gabriele had confessed.
“He had needed a trial to attempt to set up the reality of the information and justice with a good sentence,” he stated. “However the pope by no means wished any struggling on folks. Neither Paolo Gabriele nor his household.”