With five days to go before Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation, the Vatican is being rocked by an explosive report that he decided to quit after learning of a network of influential gay prelates who were being blackmailed by gay outsiders.

The revelation stems from Benedict’s ordering a committee of three cardinals to investigate the unauthorized release to journalists of Vatican papers — the “Vati-leaks” scandal — and to make the findings for his eyes only.

Ironically, the two-volume, red-leather-bound cardinals’ report running nearly 300 pages was itself leaked.

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