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June 11th, 2013
01:35 PM ET

Pope Francis: `Gay lobby' exists inside Vatican

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - Pope Francis said a “gay lobby” exists inside the Vatican, a surprising disclosure from a pope who has already delivered his share of stunners, and a resurrection of church conflicts that had bedeviled his predecessor's papacy.

“In the Curia,” Francis said, referring to Catholicism’s central bureaucracy, “there are holy people. But there is also a stream of corruption.”

“The 'gay lobby' is mentioned, and it is true, it is there,” Francis continued. “We need to see what we can do.”

READ MORE: The pope said what? Six stunners from Francis

Hints that the Holy See contained a network of gay clergy surfaced last year in reports about a series of embarrassing leaks to Italian journalists.

The "Vatileaks" scandal factored in Pope Emeritus Benedict XIV's shocking decision to resign earlier this year, according to some church experts, as it impressed upon the 86-year-old pontiff that the modern papacy requires a vigorous and watchful presence.

Francis' enigmatic comments came during a meeting Sunday with CLAR, the Latin American and Caribbean Confederation of Religious Men and Women, who head Catholic communities of priests, sisters and monks.

The Chilean website Reflection and Liberation, which focuses on Catholic theology, first reported Francis’ remarks. The Catholic blog Rorate Caeli translated the report into English.

A Vatican spokesman told CNN, "The Holy See Press Office has no official comment on the private meeting."

Gay and lesbian Catholic groups did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests said, "structure, not sexuality, is the real issue."

"The church is a monarchy. Monarchs are unaccountable. So many monarchs are corrupt. This is true in both secular and religious institutions," SNAP said in a statement.

Other Catholics counseled caution about reading too much into the pope's remarks.

"We don't have any explanation of what 'gay lobby' means," said Rocco Palmo, a Vatican watcher who runs Whispers in the Loggia, a website on Catholic news and church politics.

"Naturally, some in the church will try to polarize or interpret this, but as the rest of us aren't pope, we still have to get further explanation," Palmo added.

Church experts say the Chilean report rings true since the wide-ranging conversation centers on concerns that Francis has made touchstones of his nascent papacy.

In contrast to the buttoned-up Benedict, Francis has earned an early reputation for speaking off the cuff, often ditching prepared remarks in favor of more informal conversations.

On Friday, Francis nixed his “boring” speech and instead took questions from young Catholic students. Asked by a little girl if he wanted to be pope, Francis laughed and said that only someone who “doesn’t love himself” would want the position.

Last month, the pope sparked a worldwide debate by suggesting that atheists might be able to earn a spot in heaven.

"He has said some things that would turn Benedict whiter than the papal vestments," Palmo joked.

Francis told the Catholic leaders on Sunday to focus on the poor, that the Vatican must be reformed, and joked that whoever wagered on his long-shot election as pope “won a lot, of course.”

But his comments on the "gay lobby" are likely to gain the most attention, especially in the West, where Catholic leaders have been mounting a fierce fight against same-sex marriage.

After Benedict announced his resignation in February, reports circulated that a “gay lobby” had forced his hand.

Cardinals appointed by the former pope to find the source of the leaks investigated high-level Vatican clergy involved in homosexual affairs who might have been vulnerable to blackmail, according to La Repubblica, a leading Italian newspaper.

La Repubblica reported that the cardinals found evidence of a “gay lobby” within the Vatican but gave few details about it.

"Some high level clergy are exposed to the `external influence' – what we would call blackmail – of lay people to whom they are connected through ties of a `worldly nature,'" La Repubblica wrote.

The Vatican blasted the newspaper reports as “unverified, unverifiable and completely false.”

Francis is one of the few Catholic leaders to have seen the Vatican report.

The so-called Vatileaks scandal led to Benedict's butler, Paolo Gabriele, being convicted on charges last year of leaking private papers from the the pope's private office. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

'Gay lobby' behind pope's resignation? Not likely

John Allen, CNN’s senior Vatican analyst, has said it would have been odd if the Vatican report had not considered the possibility that "insiders leading a double life," including sexually active clergy, might be vulnerable to pressure to betray the pope.

“It seems a stretch, however, to suggest this is the real reason," behind Benedict's resignation, Allen said.

In one of his first actions as pope, Francis created a council of eight cardinals, including Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston,  to offer suggestions on reforming the Vatican.

“The reform of the Roman Curia is something that almost all Cardinals asked for in the congregations preceding the Conclave,” Francis said, referring to the meetings that led up to his election in March. “I also asked for it.”

But Francis said that he cannot promote the reform himself. “I am very disorganized,” he said, adding, “I have never been good at this.”

Instead, the pope said, he is relying on his eight appointed cardinals to move the reforms forward.

CNN's Richard Greene contributed to this report. 

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Gay rights • gender issues • Homosexuality

soundoff (1,872 Responses)
  1. Huh

    Of course there's a gay lobby, it consists of all the priests who molest little boys.

    June 11, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • Tom Tom The Other

      You don't know what you're talking about. Most of us atheists are also pedophiles and we're also gay.

      June 11, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • Juan

      Ah look, the fake troll TTTO who tries to look like someone else and screwed up the moniker – LOL.

      How obvi. How stupido!

      June 11, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
  2. faith

    yea. fsm must be real cause nobody can prove he don't exist. how bout tinkerbell. yea. tinkerbell must be real cause nobody can't prove she ain't. hey, i'm catching on. that's how we no dodo b gawddd cause nobody done said neitherwise.

    cool. if it can't be disproven, it gots to be. amen. i think i could bgin 2 like these rules.

    how bouts if lots a people seen gaaaaaaaaaaaaaawd? and tell others and r willing 2 die for this gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawd? nah. that don't mean nothin. everybody dies for lies. its a new trend. its fun. i done it many times.

    June 11, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • faith

      u done died 4 lies? all the time. i blieve in reincarnation. i used to b a preevert. came back as a bigger preevert. now i dies 4 lies. its fun. everybody dooes it

      June 11, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • faith

      i like fsm. she's cool. they say she give u ice cream on Fridays if u is good

      June 11, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • faith

      gods will tell u anything

      June 11, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • Juan

      how bouts if lots a people seen gaaaaaaaaaaaaaawd? and tell others and r willing 2 die for this gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawd?

      a story has to have some excitement, right? you didn't think they'd just let it be boring did you?

      June 11, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • faith

      i grew up with a god from 9th street. lied all the time. turned out he wasn't really gaaaawwwwwwwd, but no one could prove it.

      June 11, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • faith

      i dated a girl that was gaaaaaaaaawd, onst. gloria. ahh, what a cutie. didn't want kids so i ended it.

      June 11, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • Jeff

      "fsm must be real cause nobody can prove he don’t exist."
      No shit, Sherlock. Probably because FSM is a fucking made-up JOKE. Christ on a stick, how fucking dumb are you? How have you managed to stay alive for longer than 20 minutes without walking into traffic? Damn, you are an idiot.

      June 11, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • faith

      i wrote the new testament onst. got to the second chapter and got writers block. my god washed dishes at the waldorf and turned into batman after 5 o'clock. then, all his followers met in the bat cave and worshipped him. he couldn't fly though, so i made his cousin harry gaaaawd. but harry got indigestion so i married his mother she gave birth to a virgin who was a lesbian and Buddhist until she met luigi. luigi converted her to celibacy and she had Horus 5693 years b4 anybody thought about magi and any other gaaaaaaaaaaaaaawds from northern Teheran.

      June 11, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
    • faith

      they asked me to help write the old new testament from back in the day. i told em i was busy. they said they'd pay me royalties and give me a 30% cut of gross sales. my agent, bernie, told me 2 go for it. i was the one that thought up the resurrection piece. they said i was crazy, but let me include it anyway.

      well, the rest is history. i got millions conned. some of my fans blieve my story is real and think some dude got raised from the grave! i even got idiots opposing my idiots. they want to fight a war over who gets to blieve in resurrecting people. funniest morons i ever seen.

      and me, i got rich baby

      June 11, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
  3. get to know your religion

    Take a good look from a rational perspective:

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Evidence_for_the_historical_existence_of_Jesus_Christ

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Failed_biblical_prophecies

    June 11, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
    • cardone

      Prophecies has just started not too long ago. It is going to get worse more than you imagine. I hope you will have a courage and decency to confess and to repent sins. But if you crank yourself up to be hero to deny Him, I hope you enjoy the pain and suffering not just about yourself but also about your family

      June 11, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
  4. faith

    i never seen nobody refute fsm.

    June 11, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • Mr. Magoo

      Thats because no one cares except you.

      June 11, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
  5. sam

    I totally agree with you Happy Atheist, unfortunately there is someone else using my name and saying bad things to others.

    June 11, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • sam

      I wish I knew how to use the reply function...

      June 11, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • sam

      I wish I knew how to quit you

      June 11, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
  6. Mr. Magoo

    It's not the power of God in you, its you believing in something. When you feel accepted by someone it gives you peace and the power of a group that believes the same thing you do. Religious people will tell you that you don't know anything about them but most people I know came from a religious backround. People know the inner workings of church and its not that people like myself don't see that your kind, it's just that it doesn't take a genius to know that the gospel is full of contradictions.

    June 11, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
  7. cpc65

    Better than that large Pedo Lobby they have.

    June 11, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
  8. The Gay Agenda

    I would like to be treated just like everyone else.

    I would like the same respect and consideration as any other human should be shown.

    I do not want special favors. I do not want a parking space or a special line.

    I do want to be myself without fear of reprisal or violence.

    I do not want to "convert" anyone, we are what we are. If my being gay is a "temptation" to you then you are already gay and just need to start loving yourself before you can love anyone else.

    The most uns e xy thing in this world is bigotry.

    June 11, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • sam

      I'm gay as well but i think too many of us are a..holes and not tolerant toward others.

      June 11, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • Mr. Magoo

      Your agenda. I have no idea what I am talking about

      June 11, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
  9. sam

    I'm an atheist and also gay. I believe there is too many atheists not being tolerant. I'm asking my fellow atheists to be more tolerant toward religious people, and remember being gay as we all are doesn't mean that we all have to be a..holes.

    June 11, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      You might think from my name that I might be gay, but alas, I was not born that way. I do however have a lot of respect for my gay friends, and I also try and show some respect to the Christians here who also are being respectful. This does not mean however that there are many deserving of verbal boots to the head, but I do agree with your basic premise, that we should all be more respectful of eachother.

      June 11, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • sam

      I guess I've gotten the attention of one of our adorable little trolls. Keep it up, bitch! It's hilarious.

      June 11, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • sam

      @lol??

      Are going nut?

      June 11, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • sam

      Are bust a nut??

      June 11, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Sam,

      Curious I am. Which came first, your gay-ism or your atheism? Me? I was born into parents who were not church goers. I became a deist who found the whereabouts of the Godly kingdom domains. (See Luke 17:21 & 1 Corinthians 3:9) The 6th chapter of Genesis verse 3, has told me that even the 1st God was a flesh and bones being and lives and does die just like we do.

      June 11, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • norman

      sam, youre an idiot and a liar-try some self respect dude!

      June 11, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
    • sam

      You should all go fuch yourselves

      June 11, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
  10. Auntie Cee

    Monarchy, indeed. This is just more proof that the Catholic church is a political kingdom unto itself, with little or no use, or even relation to God's Kingdom. Never mind God's Will or plan for mankind; i'ts been irrelevent since Constantine concocted a way to unite all of the new "Chrstians" into a new organization. Never mind that Jesus was born a Jew; we'll make Him a Catholic now, and we'll take it from here. It's a fantasy and a disaster that for hundreds of years has caused massive confusion and ruined people's lives.
    Hint: When in doubt, turn to God's Word – the Bible. It's not a rule book but a love letter from Abba Father to His people, with clear direction for acheiving everything He wants for us. His love, mercy and goodness endure forever. There are no other God's beside Him, and neither the Catholic Church or any other "religion" or denominational group can possibly take the place of the one true Leader, the One Who loves us and wants only the best for His children.

    June 11, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
  11. faith

    2 bad. they could have enjoyed heaven with the saved. stooooooooooopid

    June 11, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Off your meds tonight???

      June 11, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
  12. ug

    This means that they will allow gays to be priests now...wait and see...it is coming.

    June 11, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • norman

      all priests are at least gay, dummy-many are pedophiles-what othe rtype of men would agree to be cellibate unless they were self hating (religious kookery taught them gay will cause you to go to hell) or potetntial molesters who must suppress their inclinations?

      June 11, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
  13. faith

    anybody ever c anything 2 refute the new testament? me neither

    June 11, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      This is an eight part series showing some of the fallacies of the NT...now are you quite done looking like the fucktard of the blog???

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkaevBCU6nM&w=640&h=360]

      June 11, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      I can't believe I posted that tripe but yet it shows what other religions say about yours...which one of you is right?

      June 11, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • norman

      the genaology of Joseph differs in Luke and Mathew-he has different grandfathers-that proves the bible is flawed and written by men-duuuuhhh

      June 11, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
  14. Science

    Surf with cookies off and delete daily anyway.

    'Endless Wars Overseas, Infringing on Civil Liberties at Home': An Interview on NSA Surveillance With Former State Department Official Matthew Hoh

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leighton-woodhouse/matthew-hoh-state-department_b_3421594.html?ir=Technology

    June 11, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
  15. faith

    can't find nothin in the new testament that ain't true! and they equate it with their tooth fairy gaawd. no wonder no one blieves in their sky daddy.

    notice how many converts they got now? the 3 people posting as 213 atheists r the same fools they've had for years

    June 11, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • Nestor

      LOL – what a joke!

      June 11, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
  16. cyberman304

    I think that if the "gay lobby" is identified and removed it would greatly help the Catholic Church in her apostolic mission to bring souls to Christ.

    June 11, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      So he can eat them?

      June 12, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
  17. LiMin

    Stop following evil. Everyone meets their Maker at the end and you really don't to be saying stuff like that.

    June 11, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
  18. David Irvin

    Could someone tell me why you always choose such old men to be the Pope. I personally do not believe in the power of the Pope and think it is an antiquated system that serves no good except for old pious ladies. I am a Christian but Catholicism is beyoond my beliefs. They spend so much money for their outfits which could benefit the poor. Seems ODD to me!!!!

    June 11, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • Mr.Magoo

      @lol??

      Shut up dude.

      June 11, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • kryg

      If you are really sincere understanding the pope and the Catholic Church, read something about the history of the papacy and the Catholic Church from anti-Catholic and pro-Catholic sources and then decide for yourself.

      June 11, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
  19. Religious Morons, Inc.

    Those would be pedophiles, not gays. It's like saying "Of course the color red exists on the walls on this Church. It's just usually preoccupied with being blue..."

    June 11, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
  20. LiMin

    A "gay lobby" didn't push Benedict out of papal seat. Pope Benedict was true to the Faith and never one to back down from a spiritual fight. I think he realized that a younger pope needs to be in office to address the very serious corruption inside and outside the Church at this point. There are too many who have betrayed the Church and its Faith, harming souls and the faithful. The MAJORITY of priests are good, but one bad apple can cause great scandal. Pope Francis hopefully will get rid of this "gay lobby" pronto.

    June 11, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • Religious Morons, Inc.

      "A "gay lobby" didn't push Benedict out of papal seat." No, but he pushed them into it... again and again and again...

      June 11, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • Mr.Magoo

      @Religious Moron

      Can't you just shut up and let people say whatever they want to. Mind your own business.

      June 11, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.