Pope Benedict XVI's abrupt resignation was prompted by a secret report revealing sex and graft scandals inside the Vatican, according to the Italian daily La Repubblica.
"The Pope decided to step down the week before Christmas," the newspaper wrote.
ANALYSIS: Rumors Swirl Amid Pope's Resignation
Relying on an unnamed Vatican source, La Repubblica revealed that on December 17 three cardinals presented the pontiff with the "Relationem," a 300-page report which investigated allegations brought up last year by the so-called Vatileaks scandal.
Last autumn Benedict's butler, Paolo Gabriele, was found guilty of having stolen confidential documents from the papal apartment.
Commissioned by Benedict himself, the report was prepared by Cardinals Julian Herranz, Salvatore De Giorgi and Josef Tomko, the former chief of the Vatican's secret services.
ANALYSIS: Resigning Pope Brings Doomsday Prophecy
The Relationem, consisting of two red, leatherbound volumes, contained the "exact map of the mischief and the bad fish" inside the Holy See, according to La Repubblica.
"It all revolves around the breach of the sixth and seventh commandments," the newspaper quoted its source, a man described as being very close to the three authors of the report.
The seventh commandment - "thou shalt not steal" - would refer to the affairs of the Vatican Bank, IOR, which is under investigation for money laundering.
The Relationem would also contain plenty of details on the breaking of the sixth commandment - "thou shall not commit adultery" or "impure actions."
According to La Repubblica, some high-ranking members of the clergy were blackmailed by laymen with whom they entertain relationships of "worldly nature."
The Italian newspaper mentioned a gay network which organized sexual encounters in villas and saunas in Rome as well as in the Vatican rooms.
Benedict, who in the past called gay people a "defect of human nature" and gay marriages a "threat to world peace," admitted last week in his last public Mass that "the face of the church is, at times, disfigured."
According to La Repubblica, Benedict will privately meet the three authors of the report on the last day of his papacy. The Relationem will be handed over to the new Pope.
Image: A prelate walking in the Vatican. Credit: Michael Wilson/wikimedia Commons.