Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 8.15.43 AMWith five days to go before Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation, the Vatican is being rocked by an explosive report that he decided to quit after learning of a network of influential gay prelates who were being blackmailed by gay outsiders.

The revelation stems from Benedict’s ordering a committee of three cardinals to investigate the unauthorized release to journalists of Vatican papers — the “Vati-leaks” scandal — and to make the findings for his eyes only.

Ironically, the two-volume, red-leather-bound cardinals’ report running nearly 300 pages was itself leaked.

Italy’s leading newspaper, La Repubblica, reported this week that the report was turned over to Benedict on Dec. 17 and he decided that day to resign.

The cardinals questioned dozens of Vatican officials and concluded the Holy See was corrupted by rival factions.

“Everything revolves around the non-observance of the Sixth and Seventh Commandments,” the report said, according to La Repubblica.

That’s a reference to “Thou shall not steal” — for the alleged pilfering of the Vatican bank — and “Thou shall not commit adultery,” which alludes to homosexuality.

La Repubblica added that members of one faction were “united by sexual orientation.”

“Some prelates are ‘externally influenced’ — we would say blackmailed — by laity who are linked by bonds of a ‘worldly nature,’ ” the paper said.

A similar report appeared in Italy’s news weekly Panorama, which named a Roman sauna where gay encounters allegedly took place.

Read more at nypost.com