Holy See Publishes Full Text of Paolo Gabriele Sentence

Director of Holy See Press Office Says Verdict Only Takes Theft of Documents into Account

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 23, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See has published the full text of the Tribunal of Vatican City State’s sentence of Paolo Gabriele, the former Papal butler charged with the aggravated theft of private documents belonging to Pope Benedict XVI. Gabriele was found guilty earlier this month by the Tribunal. 

Fr. Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office , held a press conference this morning explaining several aspects of the sentence. Fr. Lombardi noted that the Tribunal’s decision focused solely on the offense of stealing documents while not taking into account other objects that were found in Gabriele’s possession during the search of his home. Among the objects found was a nugget of gold, a check in the Holy Father’s name and a 16thcentury copy of the «The Aeneid.» Fr. Lombardi said that the items were not included in the sentence because of doubts of how the search was conducted.

The director of the Holy See Press Office went on to explain that a psychiatric examination of Gabriele excluded the possibility that he might have had a mental condition that made him unaware of his responsibility for the theft.

«The Tribunal had also been careful to define the juridical terms of the offence of theft; i.e., the removal and appropriation of an object without the consent of its owner with the intent of obtaining some benefit,» he said. The offense was thus considered a theft and not embezzlement. The sentence also states that «the benefit Gabriele sought to gain was not economic in nature, but intellectual and moral.»

Fr. Lombardi announced that Gabriele is currently under house arrest since the promoter of Justice, Giovanni Giacobbe, had to wait till the publication of the full text of the sentence in order to file an appeal. If Giacobbe does not file the appeal within the set deadline from the time of publication, Gabriele will have to serve his sentence, which is for one year and 6 months. Gabriele would also have to serve his term in a prison in the Vatican since there is not relevant convention with the Italian State.

There is still the possibility that Pope Benedict XVI will pardon Gabriele, though since it is the Holy Father’s personal decision, it is unclear if and when he will do it.

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