Pope’s Butler Goes on Trial

Posted September 29th, 2012 at 9:05 am (UTC-5)
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The former butler of Pope Benedict has appeared in a short hearing, the first stage of his trial for aggravated theft of personal papers of the pope.

Paolo Gabriele, a 46-year-old father of three, appeared Saturday in a Vatican courtroom as a three-judge tribunal threw out some evidence and ruled that his co-defendant, a Vatican computer expert, will be tried separately.

During the two-hour hearing, the panel set Gabriele's next court appearance for October 2.

Gabriele has confessed to stealing personal papers from the pope and passing them to a journalist writing a book on alleged corruption in the church. The incident is unprecedented in the modern history of the Vatican, the world's smallest state.

Gabriele has said he was disgusted with the “evil and corruption” in the church. He has written to the pope, asking for forgiveness.

Many Vatican observers say they expect Pope Benedict to pardon Gabriele if he is convicted.

The trial is open to the public, but access is limited because of the courtroom size.