Paolo Gabriele, the former butler of Benedict XVI, died in Rome on Tuesday. He was 54 years old.
He worked as a discreet personal assistant to the pope. He was always with him.
However, his career as the papal butler ended after he was found guilty of leaking the pope’s personal documents to the press.
The first document was leaked in January 2012. It was this letter from the then Nuncio in the United States, Carlo Maria Viganò. In it, he denounced “corruption, negligence and ill management” of the Vatican.
The leak led to suspicions and accusations within the Vatican. For this reason, Benedict XVI assigned three cardinals to investigate the source of the leaks.
Days later, Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi published a book with more than 100 confidential documents of Pope Benedict XVI.
All the leads of the investigation pointed to the pope’s butler.
Paolo Gabriele was arrested, and inside his home, police found hundreds of confidential documents.
FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI
“For right now, he’s being held, pending the first interrogation.”
Amid all the confusion, Pope Benedict XVI had this to say:
POPE BENEDICT XVI
May 30, 2012
“Some entirely gratuitous rumors have multiplied, amplified by some media, which went well beyond the facts, offering a picture of the Holy See that does not correspond to reality.”
The Papal butler, Paolo Gabriele, spent two months in one of the Vatican’s jail cells. Once he was under house arrest, he wrote to Benedict XVI asking for a pardon, adding that he had acted alone without accomplices.
However, the Vatican’s Court issued a sentence.
“The court declares, Paolo Gabriele, guilty.”
The butler was sentenced to 18 months in prison on charges of aggravated theft of confidential documents.
Two months later, shortly before Christmas, the pope pardoned him and provided him with a home and a job in a Vatican hospital.
Since then, he maintained complete silence about what happened and rejected offers of books, films, and documentaries.
He has died of an untreatable disease. He was married and had three young children.