Pope's butler released after arrest over stolen documents

Mon, Jul 23, 2012, 01:00

THE POPE’S former butler, Paolo Gabriele, who has been held in Vatican detention since May 23rd, has been released but is to remain under house arrest.

Mr Gabriele is accused of having stolen a vast selection of documents from Pope Benedict XVI’s pontifical apartment, documents that may have subsequently featured in media leaks as well as in the controversial recent book, His Holiness: The Secret Papers of Benedict XVI, written by Gianluigi Nuzzi.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday, senior Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi said the Holy See’s investigating magistrate, Piero Bonnet, was coming to the end of his inquiry and “in a matter of days” would either call for Mr Gabriele to be released or for him to face trial, probably sometime this autumn.

In the meantime, Mr Gabriele “will reside at home with his family”, he added.

Intriguingly, even though many observers believe the butler did not act alone but rather that he is a pawn in a larger conspiracy, Fr Lombardi confirmed that Mr Gabriele was “the only person under investigation”.