Vatican police have raided a cardinal's apartment where a drug-fuelled homosexual orgy was taking place.
Police entered an apartment at the former palace of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (or Holy Office) last month not far from the Vatican City.
The occupant of the apartment is alleged to be a priest who serves as a secretary to cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, the head of the Pontifical Council for Legislative texts and a personal adviser to the Pope.
The allegations of the orgy were first published by newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano.
According to the paper, neighbours became suspicious before complaining about irregular behaviour of those coming and going at the apartment.
When police showed up at the apartment, they reportedly found drugs and a group of men engaged in sexual activity.
The priest was then arrested and taken for questioning.
Il Fatto Quotidiano suggested that Pope Francis has been infuriated by the news and may force Coccopalmerio into retirement.
The incident is symptomatic of a difficult period for the Pope. Four years into his papacy the Catholic Church appears racked by conflict and scandal.
Critics blame the Pope's choice of personnel: cardinal George Pell, appointed to clean up the Vatican's murky finances, has taken a leave of absence to defend himself against sex abuse charges in Australia.