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Pope opens internal investigation into Vatican leaks

Feb. 23: Pope Benedict XVI delivers his speech during special audience he held for members of the Roman Curia, in the Pope Paul VI hall at the Vatican.

Feb. 23: Pope Benedict XVI delivers his speech during special audience he held for members of the Roman Curia, in the Pope Paul VI hall at the Vatican.  (AP2012)

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI has launched an internal investigation into the leaks of confidential documents that alleged corruption and financial mismanagement and exposed purported power struggles among top church officials.

Monsignor Angelo Becciu, undersecretary in the Vatican's Secretariat of State, warned in Saturday's Vatican newspaper that Holy See prosecutors would take all necessary penal and administrative measures to punish "disloyal" and "cowardly" officials who leaked the memos.

In addition, Becciu told L'Osservatore Romano, Benedict himself has set up a special commission to shed light on the scandal, which has come at a delicate time in which the Vatican is seeking to win European approval of its financial transparency and anti-money laundering norms.