Vatican City - Pope Benedict XVI decided to resign after an internal probe informed him about the extent of sex and graft-scandals inside the Vatican, an Italian newspaper reported on Thursday, quoting unnamed sources.
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 so-called VatiLeaks affair.
On December 17, 2012, they handed to the pontiff two red-leatherbound volumes, almost 300-pages long, containing "an exact map of the mischief and the bad fish" inside the Holy See, daily La Repubblica reported.
"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 report suggested.
The Vatican's press office declined to comment on the story.
Benedict is leaving his post on February 28. So far, the Vatican has insisted that his decision - the first papal resignation in 600 years - was due to his advanced age and had nothing to do with Vatican plots.
The information he received from the cardinals "is all about the breach of the sixth and seven commandments," a man described as being "very close" to the authors of the report told La Repubblica.
The commandments are "thou shalt not commit adultery" and "thou shalt not steal." The cardinals were said to have uncovered an underground gay network, whose members organise sexual meetings in several venues in Rome and the Vatican City and are prone to blackmail because of their sexual orientation.
Among those mentioned in the report is Marco Simeon, a manager at state television RAI whose name was mentioned in the past in connection with one of the key VatiLeaks revelations: the plot to oust Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano from the chairmanship of the Vatican City Governorate, following his attempts to introduce greater financial transparency.//DPA