A senior canon lawyer and member of the Vatican's supreme court has hinted that Pope Benedict XVI will pardon his former butler, who appeared in court this morning.
Cardinal Velasio De Paolis told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that there was precedent for the Pope to pardon Paolo Gabriele, who has been accused of stealing confidential papal documents and leaking them to the media. He cited Blessed Pope John Paul II's forgiveness of the Turkish man who tried to assassinate him in 1981, Mehmet Ali Agca.
Asked whether Gabriele would be jailed or pardoned, he said it only the Pope could decide. But he added: "I feel I can say that, with a full confession of honest remorse and the absolute certainty that the crime cannot be committed again, popes have always issued, in favour of the condemned, measures dictated by the mercy that is the essence of the Church, which is always close to her children, even those found guilty."