Dec. 22 - Pope Benedict visits his former aide Paolo Gabriele in jail to tell him personally that he has been granted a pardon. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
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Pope Benedict offers a Christmas time pardon to his former butler, who is serving a sentence for stealing and leaking documents that alleged corruption in the Holy See.
The Vatican said the Pope and Paolo Gabriele spent about 15 minutes with each other. The butler was was freed and allowed to return to his family in their Vatican apartment.
Gabriele was convicted of aggravated theft on Oct. 6 and had been serving an 18-month sentence in the jail cell in the Vatican's police headquarters.
It's a move the Vatican hopes will end an embarrassing scandal says Reuters Vatican correspondent Philip Pullella.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS VATICAN CORRESPONDENT PHILIP PULLELLA SAYING:
"The Vatican called it a happy moment in this Christmas season. Basically the pope pardoned his former butler, the surprising thing is that the pope actually went to the jail where Paolo Gabriele was being held and communicated directly to the former man who served his meals and helped him dress that he's decided to pardon him so the Vatican hopes that this will end this long-running, embarrassing scandal of leaked documents."
Gabriele told investigators that he leaked the documents because he saw "evil and corruption everywhere in the Church" and that information was being hidden from the pope.
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