Cardinals begin pre-conclave meetings amid scandal
VATICAN CITY (AP) - Cardinals said on Monday they want to talk to Vatican managers about allegations of corruption and cronyism within the top levels of the Catholic Church before they elect the next pope, evidence that a scandal over leaked papal documents is setting up one of the most unpredictable papal elections in recent times.
The Vatican said 103 of the 115 voting-age cardinals attended Monday's inaugural session of the pre-conclave meetings, at which cardinals organise the election process, discuss the problems of the church and get to know one another before voting.
The red-capped "princes" of the church took an oath of secrecy and decided to pen a letter of "greeting and gratitude" to Benedict XVI, whose resignation has thrown the church into turmoil amid a torrent of scandals inside and out of the Vatican.
"I would imagine that as we move along there will be questioning of cardinals involved in the governing of the Curia to see what they think has to be changed, and in that context anything can come up," said United States Cardinal Francis George.