Pope's Butler Guilty, But Pardon Is 'Likely' Paolo Gabriele gets 18 months for stealing church documents By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Oct 6, 2012 6:17 AM CDT Updated Oct 6, 2012 10:43 AM CDT 10 comments Comments Paolo Gabriele sits in the courtroom of the Vatican tribunal Saturday. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano) (Newser) – It looks like Pope Benedict is going to let his former butler off the hook. A Vatican spokesman says a pardon is "likely" for Paolo Gabriele, after he was convicted today and sentenced to 18 months for stealing the pontiff's private papers and other church documents and leaking them to a reporter, reports AP. In the meantime, Gabriele is returning to his Vatican apartment to begin serving the sentence under house arrest, reports the BBC. "The thing I feel most strongly is the conviction of having acted out of visceral love for the Church of Christ and of its leader on earth," Gabriel said in court today. "I do not feel I am a thief." He had previously pledged his loyalty to Benedict and said he was only trying to expose corruption within the church.