A new report says that Pope Benedict XVI decided to resign as head of the Catholic Church after learning about the extent of sex and graft scandals inside the Vatican.
On February 11, Pope Benedict XVI, the spiritual leader of Christians, said he intends to officially step down from his post at 1900 GMT on February 28 since he is no longer able to carry out his duties because of his advanced age.
Citing unnamed sources, the report by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica
on Thursday, however, said that the pontiff decided to resign after an internal church probe informed the him about a series of blackmails, grafts and underground gay sex in the Vatican.
The report stated that three cardinals, including the former chief of the Vatican’s secret services, were asked to verify the allegations of financial impropriety, cronyism and corruption brought up by the publication of confidential papal papers in the scandal known as “Vatileaks.”
According to the report, the three cardinals reported their findings to the pope on December 17, 2012, in two red-leatherbound volumes, almost 300-pages long, which revealed the existence of a “network” of gay prelates in the Vatican and contained “an exact map of the mischief and the bad fish” inside the Holy See.
“It was on that day, with those papers on his desk, that Benedict XVI took the decision he had mulled over for so long,” noted the report.
The two-volume dossier has been reportedly consigned to a safe place and would be delivered to Benedict’s successor upon his election, the report added.
The Vatican, however, refused to deny or confirm the report published by the Italian newspaper.
According to David Gibson, a journalist who wrote the latest biography on Benedict, the Pope's resignation was “most certainly the result of numerous factors, mainly revolving around the internal problems of the Vatican, of which sexual shenanigans were likely one.”
Vatileaks came to light in January 2012, when a series of the Holy See's internal documents were leaked to Italian media, causing a stir nationwide.
Following the incident, the Italian Journalist, Gianluigi Nuzzi, also fueled the fire by releasing a book called “His Holiness.”
The book shed light on power struggles in the Vatican by presenting secret documents and confidential letters to and from the Pope and his personal secretary.
In May 2012, Vatican authorities arrested Paolo Gabriele, the Pope’s butler, on suspicion of being behind the leaks and charged him with 18 months in jail. However, he was later pardoned.
Other reports also emerged in the Italian media in June 2012, linking the Vatican with Sicilian mafia heads.
The reports came out after the head of the Vatican Bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, was dismissed amid claims of power struggles and corruption within the Holy See.
He had reportedly been under investigation for laundering money for a Mafia godfather.