The Italian newspaper La Republicca has recently reported that Pope Benedict XVI resigned due in large part to a glut of sexual corruption brewing inside the Vatican.
This all started with the VatiLeaks scandal over a year ago. In January of 2012 a television program called "The Untouchables" aired in Italy with several letters from Carlo Maria Vigano subsequently being published by Gianluigi Nuzzi, both of which indicated corruption and the blackmailing of homosexual clergy in the church.
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Though reports vary as to the nature and extent of the various activities of members of the church, there are allegedly factions forming inside the clergy divided by matters of sexuality, with homosexual acts being documented amongst many. Further still, certain financial improprieties are coming to light in the investigations. A new chairmen for the Vatican's bank has just been hired after a nine-month vacancy at the position.
The fallout from these initial VatiLeaks led to an internal investigation of the Vatican at the request of Pope Benedict. He commissioned three cardinals to investigate the claims of corruption and secrecy within the church, and according to La Republicca, in December they handed him a report that detailed "an exact map of the mischief and the bad fish'' inside the Holy See.
The left-leaning newspaper continues: "It was on that day, with those papers on his desk, that Benedict XVI took the decision he had mulled over for so long.''
La Republicca claimed that the findings shocked Pope Benedict, implying that at the very least he was not involved in the corruption. Another, more conservative newspaper, Panorama, did not make such speculations about the reasons for Benedict's departure, but it's findings on the confidential reports were very similar. Of course, so far officials in Vatican City have kept quiet about any possible indiscretions.
Father Federico Lombardi said he would not "run after fantasies and opinions'' and warned: "Don't expect comments or rebuttals of what is being said on this issue.'
Also keeping quiet are the three cardinals who took part in the investigation: Julian Herranz, Jozef Tomko, and Salvatore De Giorgi. Herranz has stated that Pope Benedict is the only person they have reported their knowledge of the findings to. The findings will reportedly be passed down to the next pope to lead the Catholic Church.
Whether or not the scandal was a determining factor in Pope Benedict's unexpected resignation may never be known, but suffice to say, if a pope decides to resign for the first time in almost 600 years, chances are good that there was more to the resignation than the "old age" excuse that was rendered.