In remarks that indicate he intends to implement serious reform within the Holy See curia, Pope Francis last week allegedly spoke of an active “gay lobby” in the Vatican.
Chilean website Reflection and Liberation, which deals with religious affairs, earlier this week reported that the pope had referred to the issue during a June 6th meeting in the Vatican with Clar, the Latin American Confederation of Religious.
Asked by one of the Clar delegation about problems within the Holy See curia, Francis allegedly said: “In the curia, there are holy people, but there is also a stream of corruption. People talk about a gay lobby and it’s true, it exists. We’ll have to see what can be done about it . . .”
Vatican senior spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi said he had nothing to say on the issue since the alleged remarks had been made at a private meeting. It is not clear how the comments found their way to the website but Clar yesterday appeared to confirm their authenticity when pointing out that after the meeting, some members of the delegation had drawn up a "report" of the exchanges with the pope.
It seems this report, which was not intended for publication, somehow found its way to the Reflection and Liberation website.
Although there have been occasional reports of gay "activity" in Holy See circles over the years, the issue assumed renewed newsworthiness in May of last year with the publication of Gianluigi Nuzzi's bestseller, His Holiness – The Secret Papers of Benedict XVI.
While it focused on the careerism, rivalry and corruption endemic in the Roman curia under Benedict, it also indicated various Holy See figures were active gays. This “gay lobby” was concerned more with careerist self-promotion than with campaigning for gay rights, it claimed.
That book was published just weeks before Paolo Gabriele, the pope's butler, was arrested for having stolen confidential documents from Benedict's apartment – documents that had provided much of the "evidence" in Nuzzi's book.
Benedict was so disturbed not only by the arrest and subsequent conviction of the butler but also by the extensive “Vatileaks” scandal in which the Nuzzi book had been a prominent player that he asked three senior cardinals, Julian Herranz, Josef Tomko and Salavatore De Giorgi, to prepare an internal report.
Many believe that the cardinals’ report acted as a sort of last straw for Benedict, confirming him in his decision, already taken, to resign.