(The Pope's butler, Paolo Gabriele (bottom L) arrives with Pope Benedict XVI (R) at St. Peter's Square in Vatican, in this file photo taken May 23, 2012. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/)

Just after dawn on Wednesday, May 23, Paolo Gabriele said goodbye to his wife, passed by the bedrooms of his three children and left to start another day in the service of the man Roman Catholics believe is the vicar of Christ on Earth.

By the end of the day, Pope Benedict’s butler would be branded a traitor and some, including an Italian cardinal, would compare him to the most famous betrayer in history – Judas Iscariot, the man who turned Jesus over to the Romans.

Dark haired and handsome, Gabriele, 46, left his simple home on the third floor of a 1930s Vatican apartment block named after the 7th century monk Saint Egidio.

With the St Ann’s Gate entrance, guarded by Swiss Guard in blue berets, to his back, he passed the Holy See’s central post office on Via Del Belvedere, turned left to climb a stone stairway named after Pope Pius X, and walked up a flight of covered steps to enter the small Renaissance-era Courtyard of Sixtus V.