Rome

Pope's ex-butler 'surprised' but not 'amazed' by resignation

Gabriele, working in Rome hospital, tells friends he has regrets

Pope's ex-butler 'surprised' but not 'amazed' by resignation

Rome, February 13 - The disgraced ex-butler of Pope Benedict XVI said he was "surprised" but not "amazed" by the Pope's decision to resign, sources say. Paolo Gabriele, convicted of leaking papal secrets, has told friends that the Pope's decision to step down as of February 28 may have stunned the world, but was not so shocking to him, sources have told ANSA. Gabriele, who was pardoned by the Pope and is now working as a clerk at St Paul's hospital in Rome, was not speaking to reporters this week beyond saying hello to watching cameras. But friends say that he was aware of renovations at the monastery Mater Ecclesiae, where the Pope will retire next month, but assumed they were for a senior cleric. There have been suggestions that the Pope's deep disappointment in Gabriele for his betrayal was part of the reason for his ill health and decision to step down at age 85. Gabriele was sentenced to 18 months in jail last year after he leaked confidential Vatican memos suggesting corruption and intrigue within the Holy See, which were later published in a book. After he wrote a letter to the Pope begging forgiveness, he received a full pardon. Gabriele also said that he was "disappointed" by the Pope's resignation and that he has "always been very close to the Pope". Gabriele has told them that he regrets what he did, blaming some kind of "delirium" that took him over when he took papal documents, photocopied and leaked them.

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