freep | The Italian media is reporting that Pope Benedict XVI resigned after receiving the results of an internal investigation, delivered in a 300-page, two-volume dossier, that laid bare a sordid tale of blackmail, corruption and gay sex at the Vatican.
The respected Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported Friday that the report stamped "Pontifical Secret," contained "an exact map of the mischief and the bad fish" inside the Holy See.
The newspaper said the findings of the nine-month investigation, headed by Spanish cardinal, Julian Herranz , with the assistance of Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi, former archbishop of Palermo, and Slovak cardinal Jozef Tomko, was delivered to the pope on Dec. 17, 2012.
"It was on that day, with those papers on his desk, that Benedict XVI took the decision he had mulled over for so long,'' the newspaper said.
La Repubblica said the panel drew upon "dozens and dozens" of interviews with bishops, cardinals and lay people. It said the pope was kept apprised of the investigation in weekly meetings from April until December. The final, bound in red leather, is being kept in a safe in the pope's Vatican quarters, the newspaper said.
A similar story was carried by Panorama, a conservative weekly.
"What's coming out is a very detailed X-ray of the Roman Curia that does not spare even the closest collaborators of the pope," respected Vatican expert Ignazio Ingrao writes in Panorama. "The pope was no stranger to the intrigues, but he probably did not know that under his pontificate there was such a complex network and such intricate chains of personal interests and unmentionable relationships."
A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, has refused to comment on the reports.
"Neither the cardinals' commission nor I will make comments to confirm or deny the things that are said about this matter. Let each one assume his or her own responsibilities. We shall not be following up on the observations that are made about this,'' Lombardi said, according to the German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur.
In announcing his resignation Feb. 11, Benedict said that he no longer had the "strength of mind and body" to carry on. A conclave will select a new pope next month.
Lombardi has indicated that Benedict would meet with the three cardinals before stepping down Feb. 28, in one of his final private audiences.
La Repubblica reported that the pope would personally hand the confidential files to his successor, with the hope he will be ''strong, young and holy'' enough to take the necessary action.
The investigation was triggered last May when the pope's butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested and charged with having stolen and leaked papal correspondence that depicted the Vatican as a hotbed of intrigue.
The papers were published in a blockbuster book. The butler was convicted in October of aggravated theft, and later pardoned.
The three-man panel, according to La Repubblica, discovered an underground gay network whose members organized sexual meetings in several locations, including a villa outside Rome, a sauna in Rome's Cuarto Miligo distirct and even in a beauty salon inside the Vatican.
The gatherings, in turn, left them open to blackmail from people outside the Vatican, the report said, according to the newspaper.