UNDATED (CNN) -- The Pope says he is resigning because of advancing age and failing strength. But journalists who have looked into the secretive doings of the Vatican say, "frustration" may better describe why the Pope is walking away.
It was his last angelus prayer from his official office that Pope Benedict XVI stressed, again, that he is not abandoning the church.
To the tens of thousands who listened in St. Peter's Square, and had come to voice their support, it was a sentimental farewell.
To investigative newspaper journalist Concita Di Gregorio, who has been delving into alleged wrongdoing at the Vatican for the last six months, Benedict's words carried much more significance. She says, "This does not mean to abandon, it means to fight," she says, "Last Sunday he said we are fighting against the temptations of power."
Temptations that may have proven too strong for some. Di Gregorio is one of two journalists who have reported this week on allegations of Vatican corruption and blackmail of gay clergy-members by male prostitutes.
At stake, Di Gregorio contends, is the very integrity of the church. "A church governed," she says, "by a network of officials, some of whom are compromised by their homosexual activities."
Compromised perhaps to senior levels, says Ignazio Ingrao, a writer for the news weekly panorama. How high does it go? Cardinals? Fino Ai Cardinali. Yes, cardinals.
Ingrao says he believes pope Benedict's attempts at reform were stymied every step of the way. "In these eight years the pope has repeatedly made calls to stop the divisions," he says, "to end the power struggles in the curia and to have more transparency, but these calls were not heeded."
The latest claims, flatly denied by the Vatican, are based on interviews with senior Vatican officials the journalists did not identify and dozens of other unnamed sources.
Having struggled with controversy since the beginning of his pontificate, the two Italian journalists conclude that Benedict lost faith in those who were supposed to support him. "He decided, by himself," says Di Gregorio, "to resign because he no longer trusted the men around him."
Benedict says he's not abandoning the church. but, according to these accounts, the church may have abandoned him.