ROME - Pope Benedict XVI decided to keep secret the contents of an investigative report on the "Vatileaks" scandal, ruling that the only person who will get to see it will be the next pope.
The top secret dossier details the findings of an internal investigation the pope launched last April into the so-called Vatileaks affair, in which Benedict's former butler leaked confidential documents stolen from the papal chambers.
Italian newspapers have claimed - without attribution - that the investigation revealed a sex and blackmail scandal inside the curia.
The Vatican spokesman today underscored that the contents of the dossier are known only to the pope and his investigators, three elderly prelates whom the Italian papers have nicknamed "the 007 cardinals."
Pope Benedict met today with Cardinals Julian Herranz of Spain, Jozef Tomko of Slovakia, and Salvatore De Giorgi of Sicily in a private audience.
According to the Vatican, the pope thanked them for their work and expressed satisfaction with their investigation.
"Their work made it possible to detect, given the limitations and imperfections of the human factor of every institution, the generosity and dedication of those who work with uprightness and generosity in the Holy See," read a Vatican statement.
The Vatican statement pointedly added: "The Holy Father has decided that the acts of this investigation, known only to himself, remain solely at the disposition of the new pope."
Many here had expected the investigating cardinals, who are too old to participate in the conclave, would brief the voting cardinals about their findings.
Today Vatican officials clarified the investigating cardinals will be free to discuss their investigation with the other cardinals, as the voting members of the conclave seek to understand the challenges the next pope will face.
But the dossier itself will remain "For the Pope's Eyes Only."