New claims about mismanagement of the Catholic Church's finances and vitriolic attacks on Pope Francis from hardline traditionalists offer a keyhole glimpse of in-fighting simmering behind closed doors at the Vatican, experts say.
The two issues have generated a flurry of headlines in recent days, sending commentators scrambling to explain their significance for the Argentine pontiff and his battle to reform both the way the Church is governed and its message.
Conspiracy specialists have also been working overtime on the emergence last week of a leaked -- but apparently falsified -- document, purporting to point to a Vatican cover-up. This relates to a 33-year-old mystery over the disappearance of the Emanuela Orlandi, the 15-year-old daughter of a Vatican employee.
Interpretations of the recent spate of intrigue vary but the one thing they all agree on is that Francis is under fire.