Vatican City - There are still scandals to be uncovered in the Vatican, an anonymous source who claims to have been part of a network of moles that prompted the VatiLeaks scandal said on Thursday, as cardinals continued to hold preliminary talks to elect a pope.
The VatiLeaks affair concerns the leaking of confidential papal papers that purported to shed light on alleged power struggles and corruption within the Vatican hierarchy. The butler of retired pope Benedict XVI, Paolo Gabriele, was tried and pardoned over the case.
"The pope's butler is not the only mole in the Vatican. There are lots of moles, more than 20, all connected to the Holy See," the source told the La Repubblica newspaper.
Before his cover was blown, Gabriele had told investigative journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi that "around 20" people had helped him leak the documents. During the trial he retracted this, insisting he had acted alone.
"After Benedict XVI renounced his pontificate, and on the eve of the conclave, the VatiLeaks case is still relevant. And for us it is time to speak again," the source said.
The outgoing pope tasked three cardinals to look into the affair. Their report has remained secret - although La Repubblica claims to have been informed about it and has written that its contents were so explosive that they convinced Benedict to leave his post.
Underground homosexual network
Several cardinals have said that it is important for them to question the authors of the secret report before entering the conclave.
One of their most sensational findings, according to La Repubblica, was the presence of an underground Vatican homosexual network, whose members were prone to blackmail. The cardinals allegedly also documented cases of graft and financial impropriety.
"It is all true: I could list the names of cardinals and monsignors, bishops and officials," the source said about the gay allegations. He claimed that Nuzzi was in possession of VatiLeaks documents that have not yet been published.
The fresh scandal allegations were published by La Repubblica as cardinals were holding the fourth day of their General Congregations, a preliminary forum for discussions that precedes the conclave.
The last of the 115 cardinals due to take part in the papal election was now set to join them in Rome amid speculation that the conclave may start early next week.
On Wednesday, Vatican spokesperson Father Federico Lombardi said it was "likely" that the Catholic Church would have a new leader by Palm Sunday, which this year falls on 24 March.