February 23rd, 2013
04:48 PM ET

Vatican denies swirling rumors as pope prepares to step down

By Hada Messia, Ben Wedeman and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

Rome (CNN) - The Vatican sought Saturday to tamp down rumors involving sex, money and gay priests that have been swirling in the Italian media and have been linked by some to Pope Benedict XVI's decision to resign.

The strongly-worded denial came on the eve of the pope's last Angelus blessing, expected to draw huge crowds of the faithful, before he stands down on Thursday.

Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone said it was "deplorable" that as the time for the Roman Catholic cardinals to elect a new pope approaches, a rash of "often unverified, unverifiable or completely false news stories" has appeared.

Such unfounded stories "cause serious damage to persons and institutions," he said, and are an attempt to influence the cardinals' free will in the election "through public opinion."

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI

soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. EX catholic

    RUMORS!!! You've got to be kidding me. Anyone who have some knowledge of the History of the RCC, its Operatives and MODUS OPERANDI knows a whole lot better than that. That’s been going on for centuries, so anyone acting surprised and shock about all of this and more is nothing but a Hypocrite. IDOLATRY is a Very Serious Sin IS NOT Religion.

    February 26, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
  2. EX catholic

    RUMORS!!! You've got to be kidding me. Anyone with some knowledge of the History of the RCC, its Operatives, Manipulations and MODUS OPERANDI knows better than that. That’s all been going on for centuries, so anyone acting surprised and shock about all of this and more is nothing but a Hypocrite.

    February 26, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
  3. ronvan

    DENIAL, DENIAL, DENIAL: What else can you expect? For them to "come out" and admit all of these scandals would show that the RCC leaders are actually HUMAN and not Gods!

    February 26, 2013 at 6:10 am |
  4. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Well, isn't that something! It appears that AndyBandy's spam is being removed by CNN!

    Good on them for getting rid of his crap.

    February 25, 2013 at 9:02 am |
  5. William Demuth

    The whole church needs to be dismembered

    A cabal of deviants and child buggering sociopaths

    They need to ALL burn in hell.

    February 25, 2013 at 8:51 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      There's no hell. Nil awaits them just like it waits for us. We can make them very uncomfortable before they go, though.

      February 25, 2013 at 8:58 am |
  6. saggyroy

    I find it ironic that some church supporters call this nothing but a "witch hunt". How does it feel your Popiness?

    February 25, 2013 at 6:29 am |
  7. and it just gets worse and worse


    February 24, 2013 at 11:36 am |
  8. Make it stop.

    Quite easy. Open up the Vatican's secret docu*ments to the world. Rumors would be over but the truth might destroy the church, what to do, what to do.

    February 24, 2013 at 11:33 am |
  9. AvdBerg

    Spiritual Truth

    To find the truth go to http://www.gaychristian101.com

    Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find (Matthew 7:7).

    February 24, 2013 at 9:12 am |
  10. The Butler maybe

    Papal resignation linked to inquiry into 'Vatican gay officials', says paper


    February 24, 2013 at 8:27 am |
  11. Sara Howells


    February 24, 2013 at 7:01 am |
    • Garbage Alert

      This person is only posting to get hits for their garbage youtube video site.

      Click the report abuse link to get rid of this troll.

      February 27, 2013 at 11:01 am |
  12. CNN Belief Blog Editorial Staff

    To the readers of this article: The title of this article is in error, but due to technical difficulties, we are unable to fix it. Please note the correct title:

    "Vatican Denies Reality"

    Thank you for your understanding. Now please bring your trays and seats to the full upright position.

    February 24, 2013 at 2:16 am |
  13. Correctlycenter

    "Don't put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. When their breathing stops, they return to the earth, and in a moment all their plans come to an end. But happy are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the LORD their God. He is the One Who made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. He is the One Who keeps every promise forever." Psalm 146:3-6...

    February 24, 2013 at 12:44 am |
    • Bible Verses

      How stupid.

      February 24, 2013 at 11:36 am |
  14. Akira

    Well, of course they deny it. That's what they do.
    Actually admitting and trying to rectify these different situations would be the honest thing to do.
    We can't have that now, can we?

    February 23, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
  15. Unhappy Faithful Catholic

    Good Bye Pope Benedict Arnold!!!!!
    You and all the others like EX(Con) Cardinal Phoney Baloney Mahoney should rot in prison!!!!!!
    That this evil can vote for the next Pope shows how corrupted the Church now is he should be defrocked and not allowed to vote for Pope!

    February 23, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
  16. Over 40,000 denominations of insanity

    Some believe that celibacy is appropriate for certain people, or for certain positions. It's ridiculous. Celibacy is unnatural and will continue to cause problems for the religious institutions that employ it.

    Many of the people from these same institutions advocate against abortion, but don't understand the realistic benefit of the morning after pill or even basic contraception; their unrealistic wishful thinking is causing the death of many at the hands of disease. Realistically, many abortions could be avoided if a morning-after pill would not is not viewed as such an evil option. Many of these same people bring children into the world at a high pace, and then would prefer that the rest of society take over and educate their children in their particular brand of religion when they don't plan well and don't want to violate their silly beliefs.

    Recently we learned of the head of LCMS chastising a minister of that church for participating in a joint service for the victims of the Newtown school shooting.

    One sect calls homosexuality an abomination while the next one in the same denomination is already performing gay marriage.

    One sect, the Westboro Baptist Church believes Americans are being killed at war because America is too kind to "fags".

    One sect believes that Jesus and Satan were brothers and that Christ will return to Jerusalem AND Jackson County, Missouri.

    On sect believes women to be subservient, while another sect in the same denomination promotes equality between the sexes.

    Conflicted right from the very beginning, Christianity continues to splinter and create divisions and more extremism as it goes.

    Has anything improved with Christianity since 200+ years ago?

    Thomas Jefferson, POTUS #3 (from Notes on the State of Virginia):

    Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.

    James Madison, POTUS #4, chief architect of the U.S. Constitution & the Bill of Rights (from A Memorial and Remonstrance delivered to the Virginia General Assembly in 1785):

    During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

    John Adams, POTUS #2 (in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, 09/03/1816):

    I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved – the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced! With the rational respect that is due to it, knavish priests have added prostitutions of it, that fill or might fill the blackest and bloodiest pages of human history.

    Ben Franklin (from a letter to The London Packet, 3 June 1772):

    If we look back into history for the character of present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practised it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England, blamed persecution in the Roman church, but practised it against the Puritans: these found it wrong in the Bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves both here and in New England.

    Thomas Paine (from The Age of Reason):

    All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

    February 23, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
  17. hey!

    Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers!

    February 23, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
  18. Doobs

    "Vatican denies swirling rumors as pope prepares to step down"

    Are the cardinals giving each other swirlies? I guess the pressure of electing a new poop is getting to them.

    February 23, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    February 23, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • Father Chester Moe Lester

      My prayers got answered . . .

      February 23, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      February 24, 2013 at 8:57 am |
  20. Bam Bam

    My not address the rumor that your religion is fake and your followers are mindless, docile sheep.

    February 23, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
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.