Vatican City: Investigators into the so-called “Vatileaks” scandal were to meet with Pope Benedict XVI on Monday, two months after submitting their secret report into the leaks of papal documents to a journalist.
The three retired cardinals, Julian Herranz of Spain, Slovakian Jozef Tomko and Italian Salvatore De Giorgi, were set to see the pope at 11.00am, according to the Vatican’s daily programme.
The meeting comes just three days before Benedict steps down following his shock resignation announcement on January 11.
The 85-year-old German pope cited his age as the main factor in his nearly unprecedented decision, but observers said Vatileaks may have been the last straw in a scandal-ridden papacy.
The run-up to next month’s conclave to elect a successor to Benedict has seen new scandals and allegations emerge, including claims of “inappropriate behaviour” on the part of one of the cardinal electors, Keith O’Brien of Britain.
Already four other members of the conclave are associated with the paedophile priest scandals that have dominated Benedict’s eight years on the papal throne.
The Vatican’s Secretariat of State - the government of the Catholic Church - took the unusual step on Saturday of issuing a statement slamming “completely false news stories” as an attempt to influence the secret conclave.