Cardinal Keith O'Brien will not attend the conclave to elect a new pope
– on Monday he resigned after being accused of "inappropriate acts,"
the same day that Pope Benedict decided an internal report on the leak
of papal documents by the Pope's butler would remain secret. NBC's Anne
By Erin McClam, Staff Writer, NBC NewsA
potentially explosive report into embarrassing leaks from the Vatican
will be seen by only two people — Pope Benedict XVI and the man who
have already angered the Vatican by suggesting that the report found
evidence of corruption, blackmail and a gay sex ring, and that it
triggered Benedict’s decision earlier this month to give up the papacy.
The Vatican said in a statement
Monday that Benedict, who commissioned the report on leaks from three
cardinals, is the only person who knows its contents and will make them
available only to the next pope.
The pontiff also praised the cardinals for showing "the
generosity, honesty and dedication of those who work in the Holy See,"
considering "the limitations and imperfections of the human component of
Over the weekend, the Vatican took the unusual step of lashing out at the Italian press — accusing it of "unverifiable or completely false news stories" designed to influence the conclave that will pick the next pope.
Thomas Reese, author of "Inside the Vatican: The Politics and
Organization of the Catholic Church," said that Benedict’s decision to
keep the report secret was not a surprise.
"The Vatican doesn’t like to do its laundry in public," he said.
any event, he added, the new pope could always decide to make the
report public. Benedict’s decision simply gives him cover in case he
wants to keep it private, Reese said.
Slideshow: The life of Pope Benedict XVI
Javier Barbancho / AFP - Getty Images
Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI in 2005. Look back at his life from childhood through his papacy.
The pope ordered the report on what has become known as the Vatileaks scandal
last year after documents became public that deeply embarrassed the
church, including some of Benedict’s own correspondence and letters
Benedict pardoned the ex-butler, Paolo Gabriele, just before Christmas.
pope, 85, announced earlier this month that he would abdicate, the
first leader of the Catholic Church to do so since the Middle Ages. His
last day is Thursday. A conclave to pick successor begins next month.
The decision to keep the leaks report secret adds a layer of intrigue to what has already been a tumultuous papal transition.
Just Monday, the most senior cleric in Britain, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, resigned after The Observer newspaper reported that three priests and a former priest had accused him of inappropriate behavior going back 30 years.
Monday, the pope changed Vatican law to allow his successor to be
picked sooner — as soon as all the voting cardinals are in place in
Rome. Under previous law, the conclave could not have begun before March
Britain’s top cardinal quits amid priests’ allegations
This story was originally published on Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:59 AM EST
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