January 14, 2013

During a 15-minute meeting in the Vatican police barracks, Pope Benedict visited with his former butler, Paolo Gabriele, and told him he was forgiven and was being pardoned.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said the pope had wanted “to confirm his forgiveness and to inform him personally of his acceptance of Mr. Gabriele’s request for pardon.”

The Vatican described the pope’s visit Dec. 22 and the pardon as “a paternal gesture toward a person with whom the pope shared a relationship of daily familiarity for many years.”

Gabriele was allowed to return home the same day; he had been in a cell in the Vatican police barracks for almost two months after being found guilty of aggravated theft for stealing and leaking private Vatican documents and papal correspondence.