by David Mendez
Odd news out of the Vatican, courtesy of the U.K.'s Guardian:
Last May Pope Benedict's butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested and charged with having stolen and leaked papal correspondence that depicted the Vatican as a seething hotbed of intrigue and infighting.
According to La Repubblica, the dossier comprising "two volumes of almost 300 pages — bound in red" had been consigned to a safe in the papal apartments and would be delivered to the pope's successor upon his election.
The newspaper said the cardinals described a number of factions, including one whose members were "united by sexual orientation".
In an apparent quotation from the report, La Repubblica said some Vatican officials had been subject to "external influence" from laymen with whom they had links of a "worldly nature". The paper said this was a clear reference to blackmail.
It quoted a source "very close to those who wrote [the cardinal's report]" as saying: "Everything revolves around the non-observance of the sixth and seventh commandments."
The seventh enjoins against theft. The sixth forbids adultery, but is linked in Catholic doctrine to the proscribing of homosexual acts.
Considering concerns of Benedict XVI's declining health during his time in the papal office, and the timing of this news (it's been said he made the decision to resign on December 17, the day that he received the report containing this information,) it's not hard to imagine that these could be related. The pope's spokesperson, according to the Guardian, has chosen to neither confirm nor deny the report.