In the days after Pope Benedict’s surprise abdication, the Italian newspaper La Republica published unsubstantiated reports that the departing pontiff may have opened himself up to blackmail from what was termed the Vatican “gay lobby,” fueling speculation that Pope Benedict may be secretly gay. LaRepublica’s suspicions were raised by the fact Pope Benedict resigned on the same day he received the report he had commissioned on corruption in the Vatican. The report is said to have mentioned several competing factions in the Vatican, including one “united by sexual orientation,” which LaRepublica assumes refers to a “gay lobby.” The corruption report, prepared by three hand-picked cardinals, also specified meeting places for this group of gay clergy in and around Rome, including a sauna, a beauty parlor, and the university residence of an Italian archbishop. Further fanning the flames of speculation is the Vatican’s lack of denial. Father Federico Lombardi, the official spokesman made this statement:
“Neither the cardinals’ commission nor I will make comments to confirm or deny the things that are said about this matter. Let each one assume his or her own responsibilities. We shall not be following up on the observations that are made about this.”
This week, Pope Francis, who replaced Pope Benedict, told a group of Catholic clergy from Latin America that the Vatican “gay lobby” does indeed exist. According to Reuters, the pontiff made the observation June 6, in a meeting with a group known as CLAR - Latin American and Caribbean Confederation of Religious, which inadvertently published his remarks on the Chilean website Reflection and Liberation. Pope Francis: (translated from the original Spanish)
“In the Curia, there are also holy people, really, there are holy people. But there also is a stream of corruption, there is that as well, it is true. The ‘gay lobby’ is mentioned, and it is true, it is there… We need to see what we can do,”
CLAR has apologized for revealing Pope Francis’ remarks, but did not refute the substance of them. For his part, official Vatican spokesman Lombardi was true to form:
“It was a private meeting, therefore I have no comment to make on the contents of the conversation”.
Pope Francis’ confirmation that an organized group of gay clergy exists in the Vatican is an interesting development. Much more concerning is what Pope Francis meant by: “we’ll have to see what we can do.”
Image via Freedigitalphotos.net
Jean Ann Esselink is a straight friend to the gay community. Proud and loud Liberal. Closet writer of political fiction. Black sheep agnostic Democrat from a conservative Catholic family. Living in Northern Oakland County Michigan with Puck the Wonder Beagle.
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