Pope Francis granted clemency to a Spanish monsignor who had been sentenced to 18 months in prison for leaking confidential Vatican documents.
Mgr Lucio Vallejo Balda, former secretary of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, was given ‘conditional freedom’ with his early release from a Vatican prison cell, the Vatican press office said in a written statement late on 20th December.
Given that the monsignor has already served “more than half” of his sentence, ‘the Holy Father Francis has granted him conditional release,’ that is, a form of ‘clemency which allows him to regain his freedom’ under certain conditions for the remainder of his sentence, the statement said. The early release did not mean his criminal record would be expunged or ‘erased’, it added.
Beginning the evening of 20th December, ‘the priest will leave prison and will cease’ to have any kind of connection as an employee or working relationship with the Holy See and will immediately be back under the jurisdiction of his bishop in the Diocese of Astorga, Spain.