Europe

Pope grants freedom to jailed prelate in leaks scandal

  • FILE - In this Nov. 24, 2015 file photo, from left, Italian journalists Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi, public relations expert Francesca Chaouqui and Monsignor Angelo Lucio Vallejo Balda sit during their trial inside the Vatican. Pope Francis has freed a Vatican monsignor convicted of leaking confidential documents to journalists, granting him a Christmas-time clemency and ending an embrarrassing episode for the Holy See. The Vatican said late Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016 that Francis had granted "conditional freedom" to Spanish Monsignor Lucio Vallejo Balda. Fired from his job as a high-ranking Vatican financial official, Vallejo now falls under the authority of his local bishop in Astorga, Spain. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)

    FILE - In this Nov. 24, 2015 file photo, from left, Italian journalists Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi, public relations expert Francesca Chaouqui and Monsignor Angelo Lucio Vallejo Balda sit during their trial inside the Vatican. Pope Francis has freed a Vatican monsignor convicted of leaking confidential documents to journalists, granting him a Christmas-time clemency and ending an embrarrassing episode for the Holy See. The Vatican said late Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016 that Francis had granted "conditional freedom" to Spanish Monsignor Lucio Vallejo Balda. Fired from his job as a high-ranking Vatican financial official, Vallejo now falls under the authority of his local bishop in Astorga, Spain. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Nov. 24, 2015 file photo, from left, Italian journalists Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi, public relations expert Francesca Chaouqui and Monsignor Angelo Lucio Vallejo Balda sit during their trial inside the Vatican. Pope Francis has freed a Vatican monsignor convicted of leaking confidential documents to journalists, granting him a Christmas-time clemency and ending an embrarrassing episode for the Holy See. The Vatican said late Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016 that Francis had granted "conditional freedom" to Spanish Monsignor Lucio Vallejo Balda. Fired from his job as a high-ranking Vatican financial official, Vallejo now falls under the authority of his local bishop in Astorga, Spain. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)

    FILE - In this Nov. 24, 2015 file photo, from left, Italian journalists Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi, public relations expert Francesca Chaouqui and Monsignor Angelo Lucio Vallejo Balda sit during their trial inside the Vatican. Pope Francis has freed a Vatican monsignor convicted of leaking confidential documents to journalists, granting him a Christmas-time clemency and ending an embrarrassing episode for the Holy See. The Vatican said late Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016 that Francis had granted "conditional freedom" to Spanish Monsignor Lucio Vallejo Balda. Fired from his job as a high-ranking Vatican financial official, Vallejo now falls under the authority of his local bishop in Astorga, Spain. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Pope Francis has freed a Vatican monsignor convicted of leaking confidential documents to journalists, granting him a Christmas-time clemency and ending an embrarrassing episode for the Holy See.

The Vatican said late Tuesday that Francis had granted "conditional freedom" to Spanish Monsignor Lucio Vallejo Balda. Fired from his job as a high-ranking Vatican financial official, Vallejo now falls under the authority of his local bishop in Astorga, Spain.

Earlier this year, a Vatican court convicted Vallejo of conspiring to pass documents onto the journalists and sentenced him to 18 months in prison.

The Vatican said the pope ordered the clemency because Vallejo had already served half his sentence. It stressed that the conviction and the sentence remain on the books but says Vallejo can enjoy conditional freedom effective immediately.