According to Thursday's Irish Times (quoting the Italian daily La Repubblica), Pope Benedict’s recent resignation was partly impelled by a damaging report commissioned at Benedict’s direction after the leaking of confidential Vatican documents last year by the Pope's butler. Prepared by 3 senior cardinals --Julian Herranz, Josef Tomko and Salvatore De Giorgi-- the report reportedly concludes that various lobbies, including a gay lobby, exercise improper influence in Vatican affairs. According to La Repubblica, the lobbies were involved in adultery and in stealing relating to the Vatican Bank. In an unusual statement today (full text) the Vatican Secretary of State reacted to the press reports, characterizing them as attempts to influence the selection of the next Pope. The statement says in part:
Over the course of the centuries, Cardinals have had to face many forms of pressures, exerted upon individual electors or upon the College of Cardinals itself.... If in the past ... States, sought to influence the election of the Pope, today there is an attempt to do this through public opinion.... It is deplorable that, as we draw closer to the moment that the Conclave will begin ... there is a widespread distribution of often unverified, unverifiable, or even completely false news stories that cause serious damage to persons and institutions.