The documents expose episodes of political infighting, intrigue and accusations of corruption and homosexual liaisons going on under the watch of the 85-year-old Benedict. Taken together with other leaks that have emerged in the Italian press in recent months, they paint a picture of a Catholic Church hierarchy in utter disarray.
The papers include letters to the pope and his private secretary, bank statements, a handwritten memo the pope’s personal secretary wrote in his native German about a meeting with a member of the disgraced Legion of Christ.
None of the documents represents a smoking gun that will bring down the papacy. Most are of interest only to Italians, as they concern relations between Italy and the Vatican and a few local scandals and personalities. But their very existence and the fact that they were taken from the pope’s own desk has provoked an unprecedented reaction from the Vatican. A criminal probe, a high-level internal investigation and administrative whodunit is under way, and [Gianluigi] Nuzzi has been put on notice that legal action is pending.