VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis already has access to a top secret report about a leaks scandal that rocked the Catholic Church last year but most probably has not yet read it, the Vatican said on Monday.
The report concerns the so-called “Vatileaks” affair in which internal documents alleging corruption, mismanagement and infighting in the Vatican’s central administration, known as the Curia, were leaked to the media.
Before he stepped down last month, Pope Benedict decided that the report would be given to the next pope for his eyes only.
“Certainly it is at his disposal but I think he has had so much else to do recently that he is not in a rush to read a report on specific aspects of the internal problems of the Roman Curia,” a spokesman said.
“I would be very surprised if he had dedicated time in these first few days to reading this report,” he said, in response to a question at a media briefing. “That will come in due time”.
The report was prepared for Benedict, who is now “Pope Emeritus”, by three elderly cardinals who investigated the leaks.
Paolo Gabriele, the pope’s butler, was convicted last year of stealing personal papal documents and leaking them to the media. He was pardoned by Benedict after being briefly jailed.
The documents alleged corruption and rivalry between different factions inside the Curia and was one of the major concerns of cardinals choosing a new pope to run the Church at a time of crisis.
Anger over the dysfunctional state of the Vatican bureaucracy, which includes many Italians, is said to have been one factor in the cardinal electors’ decision to choose a non-European pope for the first time in nearly 1,300 years.
Although Benedict said the report would only be available to his successor, the three elderly authors discussed it in broad terms with other cardinals during meetings before the election of Francis.
Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Barry Moody and Pravin Char