The Vatican is lashing out at the media over recent newspaper reports that it claims are defamatory attempts to influence the election of the next pope. The reports in question come from various Italian newspapers and a secret dossier on the origins of the Vatileaks scandal assembled for Pope Benedict XVI by three cardinals. Italian media sources claim the dossier and even gay sex scandals within the church factored into the pope's decision to step down. The Vatican claims the unsourced reports are an attempt to influence public opinion and the vote of the three cardinals.
CONCLAVE Pope delivers his blessing on Feb. 17. (Franco Origlia/Getty)