Pope Benedict XVI has granted a Christmas pardon to his former butler, who stole the pope's private papers and leaked them to a journalist in one of the gravest Vatican security breaches in recent times. The Vatican said Benedict visited Paolo Gabriele in the Vatican police barracks this morning, and Gabriele was subsequently freed.
Gabriele was arrested May 23 after Vatican police found heaps of papal documents in his Vatican City apartment. He was convicted of aggravated theft by a Vatican tribunal in October and had been serving his 18-month sentence in the Vatican police barracks. Gabriele told investigators he gave the documents to a journalist because he thought that exposing the "evil and corruption" in the Vatican would put the church back on the right track. (Read more Pope Benedict XVI stories.)