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Statement by the Secretariat of State

“Since there have been no appeals to the sentence of Mr Paolo Gabriele on 6 October, his sentence became definitive. Therefore, with the mandate of the President of the Tribunal, this morning the Promoter of Justice arranged his imprisonment, carrying out the sentence. The order is implemented today”.  This is the declaration that  Fr Federico Lombardi, SJ,  Director of the Holy See Press Office, released in the early afternoon of Thursday, 25 October, to coincide with the publication of a communiqué from the Secretariat of State written in Italian. The following is a translation.

The trial of Paolo Gabriele has now pronounced the sentence which brings to a close a regrettable event that has had very painful consequences.

The Holy Father has suffered a personal affront; the right to privacy of many people who turned to the Pope because of his office was violated; prejudice was stirred up against the Holy See and a number of its institutions; communication between the world’s bishops and the Holy See was impeded and caused a scandal among the community of the faithful. Lastly, for many months the serenity of the community at the daily service of the Successor of Peter was disrupted.

The accused was found guilty at the end of a legal process which took place with transparency and fairness and in full respect of his right to defence. The trial was able to ascertain the facts, proving that Mr Gabriele did not carry out his criminal plan at the instigation or incitement of third parties, but on his own initiative that he in no way shared. The verdict has shown that the existence of plots or the involvement of other people are unfounded.

Now that the sentence has been passed, Mr Gabriele must serve the prison term imposed on him. Furthermore he faces the procedure for dismissal from his job, as prescribed by the General Regulations of the Roman Curia. With regard to his prison sentence, there is still a possibility of pardon which, as has been said on a number of occasions, is a sovereign act on the part of the Holy Father. Nevertheless it naturally presupposes repentance on the part of the accused and a sincere request for pardon to the Supreme Pontiff and to all those who have been unjustly offended. In view of the damage caused, the sentence pronounced appears both lenient and just, and this is because of the specific nature of the juridical method from which it arises.

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