VATICAN CITY (AFP) - The Vatican said on Monday that a secret report on a leaks scandal in 2012 had revealed human "imperfections" in the running of the Church and would be shown exclusively to the future pope, not to voting cardinals.
"The Holy Father has decided that the documents, which only he has seen, will be exclusively available to his successor," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said at a press conference.
"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," it said.
Italian media reports had suggested cardinals set to vote in a new pope once Benedict XVI has resigned would be given access to the report The pope met on Monday with the cardinals who investigated the so-called "Vatileaks" scandal, Mr Lombardi said.
The run-up to next month's conclave to elect a successor to Benedict has seen new scandals and allegations emerge, including claims of "inappropriate behaviour" on the part of one of the cardinal electors, Keith O'Brien of Britain.
Cardinal O'Brien has resigned as head of the Catholic Church in Scotland and said he would not take part in the conclave. The pope has accepted his resignation, effective on Monday.
Already four other members of the conclave are associated with the paedophile priest scandals that have dominated Benedict's eight years on the papal throne.
Also on Monday, the Vatican said the pope has signed a special decree giving cardinals "the possibility to bring forward" a conclave to elect his successor.
"I leave the College of Cardinals the possibility to bring forward the start of the conclave once all cardinals are present, or push the beginning of the election back by a few days should there be serious reasons," the pope said.
The conclave is traditionally held between 15 and 20 days after the papal seat is left vacant, but that period normally includes a nine-day period of mourning for a deceased pope.
Benedict is the first head of the Roman Catholic Church since the Middle Ages to resign of his own free will.
The 85-year-old German pontiff cited his age as the main factor in his nearly unprecedented decision, but observers said Vatileaks may have been the last straw in a scandal-ridden papacy.