The Vatican's already-battered image is taking a beating lately from a series of leaks that have exposed an ugly power struggle inside the Holy See, Reuters reports. "It is a total mess," says one source, who believes the leaks are part of a "mutiny of the monsignors" against Pope Benedict XVI's heavy-handed deputy, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. The leaks have brought to light an alleged murder plot against the pontiff and revealed that Bertone transferred an archbishop who tried to blow the whistle on corruption.
"Bertone has had a very brash method of running the Vatican and putting his friends in high places," a bishop with close knowledge of Vatican affairs says. "People could not take it anymore and said 'enough,' and that is why I think these leaks are coming out now to make him look bad." Vatican sources say that some cardinals have urged the pope to replace Bertone, but the isolated and increasingly frail 84-year-old pontiff is unwilling to find a new right-hand man. "It's all aimed at Bertone," says one monsignor. "It's very clear that they want to get rid of Bertone."