Benedict XVI’s Former 'Vatileaks' Butler Paolo Gabriele Dies at age 54

Paolo Gabriele sits in front of Pope Benedict XVI in the popemobile in St. Peter's Square Oct. 24, 2011.
Credit: Alan Holdren/CNA.

The papal butler who was pardoned by Benedict XVI for his role in the “Vatileaks” affair has died at the age of 54.

Vatican News announced Nov. 24 that Paolo Gabriele had died after a long illness, leaving a wife and three children.

Gabriele began serving as the German pope’s personal butler in 2007. Five years later, he became embroiled in the Vatican leaks scandal. 

He was arrested on May 23, 2012, on suspicion of leaking classified papal documents to an Italian journalist. He was indicted on August 13 for aggravated theft. 

During his trial in October of that year, Gabriele told judges, “I do not feel like I’m a thief,” adding that he “acted only out of visceral love for the Church of Christ and for its visible head on earth.”

On Oct. 6, he was found guilty of theft and given a reduced sentence of 18 months. 

On Dec. 22, Benedict XVI visited Gabriele in his cell to inform him that he had pardoned him.

“This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI visited Paolo Gabriele in prison in order to confirm his forgiveness and to inform him personally of his acceptance of Mr Gabriele's request for pardon,” a Vatican statement said.

Gabriele later worked at the Vatican’s Bambino Gesù children’s hospital.


Subscribe to our Free Daily ACI Africa Newsletter

At ACI Africa, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news from Africa, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church – so that you can grow in your Catholic faith and awareness about the people of God in Africa.

When you subscribe to the ACI Africa Updates, we will send you a daily email with links to the news you need.

Use the form below to tell us where we can send the ACI Africa Updates

As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.


ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.

Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa
[email protected]