Did Pope Benedict XVI resign because of a gay blackmail scandal?

FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008 file photo, a gust of wind blows away Pope Benedict XVI's cap as he delivers his message during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. Benedict announced Monday Feb. 11, 2013 he would resign Feb. 28, the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years. The decision sets the stage for a conclave to elect a new pope before the end of March. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito, File)

Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica has published a report alleging that Pope Benedict XVI resigned because of a blackmail scandal involving a faction within the Catholic Church that is, "united by sexual orientation." Basically, the story is that a bunch of Vatican officials are gay and someone is holding that over the Pope's head. The Guardian breaks down the full report from La Repubblica.

According to La Repubblica, the dossier comprising "two volumes of almost 300 pages – bound in red" had been consigned to a safe in the papal apartments and would be delivered to the pope's successor upon his election.

Additionally, the La Repubblica story contains information on the type of scandalous information contained in the dossier that would have forced the Pope's hand.

It quoted a source "very close to those who wrote [the cardinal's report]" as saying: "Everything revolves around the non-observance of the sixth and seventh commandments."

The seventh enjoins against theft. The sixth forbids adultery, but is linked in Catholic doctrine to the proscribing of homosexual acts.

The Vatican spokesman isn't willing to weigh in on the allegations.

Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said: "Neither the cardinals' commission nor I will make comments to confirm or deny the things that are said about this matter. Let each one assume his or her own responsibilities. We shall not be following up on the observations that are made about this."

The information is reportedly linked to the Vatileaks scandal that saw Pope Benedict XVI's butler arrested under suspicion of having stolen confidential documents and given them to an Italian journalist.

The paper said the pope had taken the decision on 17 December that he was going to resign – the day he received a dossier compiled by three cardinals delegated to look into the so-called "Vatileaks" affair. [The Guardian]