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Pope's disgraced butler to work in Vatican hospital: reports

Handout photo released by the Osservatore Romano on December 22, 2012 shows Vatican's ex-bulter Paolo Gabriele meeting with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican City prison on December 22, 2012. AFP PHOTO / OSSERVATORE ROMANO

VATICAN CITY: The pope's former butler Paolo Gabriele, who served jail time for leaking secret papers, has been offered a job at a Vatican hospital in Rome, religious media sources said Thursday.

Gabriele, who served less than three months of an 18-month prison sentence for stealing secret papal memos, was pardoned by Pope Benedict XVI in December but banished from the Vatican.

According to the German Catholic press agency KNA and the Vatican news agency i.media, Gabriele has been offered a job at the Vatican's "Bambino Gesu" hospital in the Italian capital, though it is not yet clear what his role there would be.

Religious observers say the Vatican has been looking for a way to keep Gabriele from speaking out about the leaks episode. A Vatican contract would ensure the pope's former servant is tied to a confidentiality agreement.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi refused to confirm or deny the reports.

One of the few lay members of the "pontifical family", Gabriele leaked the sensitive memos to the press as part of a whistle-blowing campaign against what he called "evil and corruption" in the Vatican.

The documents included allegations by a former governor of the city state of massive fraud within its walls.

A former trusted aide who had passed hours of every day in the pontiff's company, the 46-year-old was forced to move out of the Vatican with his wife and children when the pope's pardon came.

Many had hoped that Gabriele's freedom may allow him to reveal whether the leaks were orchestrated by higher powers.

The butler told Italian investigative journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, who published the leaks, that there were "around 20" like-minded people in the Vatican -- sparking rumours that disgruntled cardinals may have been behind the leaks.

There was much talk of a power struggle between the Vatican's powerful number two, Tarcisio Bertone, and his opponents -- though Gabriele told the court he worked alone.

 

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