Trouble in the Vatican

Posted August 17th, 2012 by Leah R with No Comments

More trouble for the Catholic church, this time due to a butler stealing confidential papers from the Pope himself.  Pope benedict XVI’s butler is accused of aggravated theft for stealing what the Vatican considers to be hundreds of secret papers in an effort to combat “evil and corruption everywhere in the church” and wanted to root it out as he felt the Pope was not “sufficiently informed.”  Evidently butler Pablo Gabriele viewed himself as an agent of the Holy Spirit and committed the theft in furtherance of his believed duties.  No word as of yet as if the Holy Spirit will be aiding in his defense.

As of now the trial for Gabrielle is scheduled for the end of September but like most other criminal trials is subject to continuance should either the prosecution or defense need more time to prepare or new evidence arise that has not been sufficiently reviewed.  If found guilty Gabriele could face up to 6 years imprisonment according to Papal law.  Because there is no prison in the Vatican state, Gabriele would serve his time in a local jail.  However, unlike any State or Federal system in the United States, Gabriele could potentially enjoy a pardon from the very religious leader from which he stole.  Oddly and differently from the laws of most states, Florida included, theft charges in the Vatican don’t appear to be based on the value of the item stolen.  Generally in Florida, in order to face more than 11 months, 29 days in the county jail for a theft crime, the value of the item must be $300 or more or must be specifically mentioned in Florida Statute 812.014 as required to be a felony.  It is likely this crime is subject to such a harsh penalty because its victim is the Pope and the church. Like Florida’s specifically mentioned objects or scenarios, stealing from the Pope or church is evidently felt to be more severe than stealing several sheets of paper from a layperson and due to that carries a harsher penalty.

It will no doubt be interesting to see if the Pope pardons Gabriele after the process is over.  To do so after the fact would be a waste of resources but it doesn’t seem that is much of a concern.

Jason Mayberry is an attorney located in Clearwater, Florida practicing throughout the Tampa Bay area.  Our practice focuses on Federal and State criminal defense, personal injury and medical malpractice, and family law.  Thank you for reading our blog and if you have questions or are in need of an attorney, please do not hesitate to call us at 727-771-3847, email us at or visit us on the web at

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