The Italian newspaper La Repubblica isn’t buying that a pope resigned for the first time in more than 600 years simply because he wasn’t feeling so spry anymore. Instead, a new report points to a juicy-sounding secret dossier (“two volumes of almost 300 pages — bound in red”) involving a faction in the Vatican “united by sexual orientation,” according to the Guardian. Those officials were supposedly subject to “external influence” from outsiders with whom they connected in a “worldly nature.” A.k.a. blackmail.
The information is thought to stem from an investigation into the “Vatileaks” scandal, in which Pope Benedict XVI’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested for stealing and leaking gossipy Vatican documents. The pope reportedly received the information on December 17, the day he decided to step down. According to a La Repubblica source, “Everything revolves around the non-observance of the sixth and seventh commandments,” or “Thou shalt not steal” and “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Haaretz notes that the Italian paper in question has a history of exposing homosexual happenings in the Vatican.
If the whole thing sounds a bit outlandish, it’s worth noting that the pope’s spokesperson opted to neither confirm nor deny the report. The dossier, which will appear soon in a bunch of bad religious mystery novels, is reportedly being held in a safe and will be delivered to Benedict’s successor, who we imagine will drop it dramatically in a fireplace and whisper, “We shall never speak of this again.”