The Pope received the three Cardinals responsible for the Vatileaks report. The report, of course, has been the cause of rampant speculation in the media. In particular, the romor has been that the report contained details so shocking that the Pope decided to resign.
I don’t believe that for a second. Do I believe that there might be a secret homosexual cabal within the curia exerting its pervasive influence? I think I do. Do I believe that the report likely contains other information about shenanigans, financial or otherwise, amongst key Vatican officials. Most likely. Do I think the Pope resigned rather than face the report? No way. I mean, if the rest of us have long suspected these things, I am sure the Pope knew it. Further, that is likely why he commissioned it.
After receiving the authors of the report, the Pope has decided to keep the contents of the report as a Papal Secret, eyes only for the next pontiff.
On the one hand, this makes perfect sense. Pope Benedict will not be around long enough to do anything about it, so it is up to the next Pope. Further, if the document does contain some material of a scandalous or embarrassing nature, it should be the prerogative of the next Pope to decide if, when, and how to disseminate this information. So all this makes sense and seems quite proper.
But there are risks to secrets kept too long. If the next Pope decides to keep the report a pontifical secret, even as he begins to deal with its content, this may only fuel to rumor mill. In the absence of real information, many people will presume and promote as fact things worse than the actual contents of the document.
As a rule, I come down on the side of full disclosure. If there are damning details in the report, let them out. Better to suffer the consequences of truth than to allow lies to fester. If we have learned nothing else over the last decade, we should have learned that.
To keep the secret for too long, you risk turning an internal report into the fifth secret of Fatima, with rumors of gay masons offering animal sacrifice in the Vatican gardens. Since I have no idea what is actually contained in the report, I defer to and have every confidence the new Pope’s judgement in this matter. But as a rule, secrets help no one.