June 11th, 2013
01:35 PM ET

Pope Francis: `Gay lobby' exists inside Vatican

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
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(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. independent_sheitz

    Francis has never touched himself! Ha, ha, ha... lol

    June 11, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • Athy

      How does he pee?

      June 11, 2013 at 11:02 pm |

    • His wee bob wee wee?

      June 11, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
  2. independent_sheitz

    The Vatican makes a millennium old story news! Sure, clean house, j erk off, clean house, j erk off... lol

    June 11, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
  3. Guy

    The gay lobby is to the left and the Pedo lobby is to the right. Good luck have fun. – pope

    June 11, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
  4. Tom Iron

    Good that the Pope admits the problem. No wclean house.

    June 11, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
  5. Jeff

    Religion is poison for the mind. It destroys a person's ability to use logic and reason.

    June 11, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • gsdfg

      By thinking for yourself, but choosing rebellion, but not following like a sheep you are making a choice and stand against God and his laws. Satan challenged God's right to rule and in the same way you are agreeing that you have the right to ruole yourself. Right now is the time to change your stance and humble yourself, kneel and follow blindly the world of god. Have faith in the creator of this world and all life and you will be richly rewarded.

      June 11, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • gsdfg

      I really wish I had proofread that. I sound retarded.... let negative comments commence.

      June 11, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
    • Jeff

      @gsdfg, What makes you think there are gods? Why read cave paintings and assume they are significant to modern life? The bible, like all religious texts, are the product of the human imagination. That doesn't make it real. The real world has no gods or devils. There are no miracles, only the laws of physics, and they have never been observed to be violated by any sort of intelligent outside force.

      June 11, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • Edweird69

      @gsd – if you would have proofread it, it would still sound just as idiotic. Glad you saved yourself some time.

      June 11, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
    • John Is Awake

      Jeff, your comment is simple minded regurgitation. Repeating like a parrot will not change anyone's mind, and I expect you know that. Therefore, my judgment of you is that your comment was to insult, not to have intelligent exchange.
      Then again, you may be so deep in your opinion that I just cannot grasp such thoughts.

      June 11, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • Jeff

      @ John Is Awake, Way to avoid the content of my comment and attack me personally. You must be every insecure in your religious views.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
    • Martin

      "what makes you think there are gods...?" Jeff an implicit premiss in that question is that one has the ability to think. So let me through it back at you if I may. What gives you the ability to think at all? "There are no miracles, only the laws of physics, and they have never been observed to be violated by any sort of intelligent outside force". Here you miss the point. The laws are not 'violated' but rather initiated by an intelligent 'force' which by implication can reasonably suggest that the said force could suspend such laws it initiated if it so chose. If this were not true then why do the world's most respected physicists all agree that the twentysomething or so laws that govern the universe could not have been other than what they precisely are and of necessity they must have been so from the beginning? You spoke of logic and reason well think on this for a moment. Does it not seem reasonable that the continued discovery by human minds of laws/principles that have governed our existence from the beginning point to an infinite or supreme Mind that formulated these laws in the first place? After the 'Big Bang' why is it that the universe operates in conformity to these laws and not others? In fact what created the material for the big bang in the first place? I welcome a discussion on this

      June 11, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
    • Jeff

      @Martin, Why would you assume all of those things? Why would you assume an intelligent force created anything? You are simply stating a conclusion without any supporting evidence. There is no evidence of god. It would be irrational to assume he exists based on no evidence. Until there is evidence of gods, there is no reason to believe they exist. You are no different from those people that claim bigfoot exists.

      June 11, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
    • Joey

      gsdf, It is not the spelling and grammar mistakes that make you look like an idiot, but the content.

      June 12, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
  6. faith

    some army dude, romeo or somethin says, yo man, i was there when he got his rear-end nailed up tight and don saw him talkin to elohim or some dude and the whole area gots dark and earth shook.

    i says man, don't b jivin me, man. we wrote that in for drama

    June 11, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • faith

      soldier heard romeo and says, knock that off or i kick ur fanny. romeo says it is the truth. bunch a soldiers drug him away and hung him. i said u man, sup wit u? r u nuts? he smiled and his face lit up with a kinda glow and he kicked off.

      i scratched my head and think, man, get me outta here

      June 11, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
  7. Nare

    Still outnumbered by the "Straight Lobby", I don't know why it matters.

    June 11, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
  8. Edweird69

    The use of supernaturalism to manipulate and control people is the world's oldest confidence scheme, it relies on the ritual abuse of children at their most impressionable stage by adults who have themselves been made childish for life by artifacts of the primitive mind.

    June 11, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      So then, "To be gay or not to be gay" is postponed until adulthood? Tell that to the pedo's and the gays who reach into the youths of their communities for nefariously wicked engagements of sexualities whoremongering ways!

      June 11, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Is it good for you to get so excited, lionlylamb?

      June 11, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Is that what you did to your brother, Vicky?

      Maybe you can explain to HS why "mute point" is hilarious.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tom, it's my way to politely tell you to zip your lips.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
    • The real Tom

      More lies, HS? God isn't going to like that. It's not good to lie about your errors. Of course, you have to as you've made nothing but.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      The real Tom, what part of mute point did you not comprehend?

      June 11, 2013 at 10:49 pm |

    • I just imagined you with a trombone mute in the appropriate point of your anatomy HeavenSent. I just realized that that's what you mean.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Liars always need their backup because they know their lies can't stand alone.

      June 11, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
    • FYI


      Moot point:
      If something's a moot point, there's some disagreement about it: a debatable point. In the U.S., this expression usually means that there is no point in debating something, because it just doesn't matter. An example: If you are arguing over whether to go the beach or to the park, but you find out the car won't start and you can't go anywhere, then the destination is said to be a moot point. –http://www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms/moot+point.html

      There is no such thing as a "mute" point. If you mean a subject that is not to be spoken about (keep silent), you'll have to come up with another phrase...

      June 12, 2013 at 12:08 am |
    • HeavenSent

      FYI, mute point is my way to politely ask you to zip your lips.. I know some unbelievers demand harsher language be posted.

      June 14, 2013 at 8:47 am |

  9. The Caesars are all dead as Jesus. So will you be, one day. No more you.

    June 11, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
  10. faith

    i says to them soldiers, i says, yo man, did u look at wat i wrote? r u crazy? who could believe any of that stuff? huh? tell me! what kind a moron could possibly believe that rot, man, r u serious? it was a joke about sky daddy fairy, man, sup wit u? r u a moron 2?

    June 11, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
    • faith

      u can imagine they twernt 2 happy. they said if it is rot, y r all these idiots runnin around sayin its true? huh? tell us!

      i said yo man, we been payin em, that's all. they gets 2 farthings 4 each convert.

      June 11, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
  11. faith

    c, that's how i noed thar ain't no gaaaaaaaaaaaaawddd cause i invented her. them soldiers said u better shut up dude or we'll kill u. ain't nobody gaaaaaaaaaaaaaawd but ceasar. i told em psyche man, can't u take a joke?

    June 11, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
  12. oldowl

    This would-be pope is one smooth talking, radical extremist Fascist. Benito and Adolph would have been so proud of him. Even his broad, lying face looks Nazi.

    June 11, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
  13. Miguel

    We have seen what gays do around little children. It would be a mistake to "mainstream" the gay lifestyle within the Church.

    I am an advocate of married priests. The early apostles had families and I think we'd get a higher quality of clergy, i.e. fewer gays.

    June 11, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • Hooligan

      We have?

      Are you just making garbage up to propel a biased and cruel viewpoint?

      I thiiink you aaaaare.

      June 11, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Miguel, I've seen gay people around little children, including mine when they were small. I've known gay people with children of their own. What did I miss seeing?

      June 11, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
    • Edweird69

      I learn something everyday. I had no idea that some straight people, don't know the difference between gay people and pedophiles. Most straight people are smarter than that...just idiots like Miguel here, that don't.

      June 11, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • John Cross

      I agree...Clergymen should be able to run their own households before attempting to help the flock with the running of theirs...Woman were the first transgressors and gave over to the serpent first, not second, but first...How do you bash woman by saying God is closer to him than he is with man...Woman give birth, and through that pain they are redeemed...Giving birth is also similar to creating life...Inside a woman life is formed, but without the man there can be no life...Now with science we can eventually have half-borns and people genetically modified to be perfect...That is as unholy as it gets...But I guess being CADMUS is the gay way...bash all you want.....

      June 11, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      It's sad that we can't get you back to your own century, John. Time travel of that sort seems to be impossible. We enjoy your anachronisms, though.

      June 11, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
    • SB

      We have seen what straights do around little children. It would be a mistake to "mainstream" the straight lifestyle within the Church.

      June 11, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I think the true danger is when children are around ignorant fools who can't tell the difference between homosexuality and pedophilia. Adults who don't know the difference may be too busy vilifying the innocent to protect children from the real predators.

      June 12, 2013 at 12:01 am |
    • sam stone

      we have also seen what straights do around little children, pen-day-ho. what is your point?

      June 12, 2013 at 7:17 am |
  14. HeavenSent

    1 Timothy 4:1-3

    1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

    2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

    3 Forbidding to marry, [and commanding] to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.


    June 11, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
    • Observer

      Timothy also discriminated against women and said that single people shouldn't get married but must since they can't control themselves. Great endorsement for marriage, right?

      So who cares what he said?

      June 11, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      HeavenSent, I wouldn't advise anyone on marriage or eating meat, at least not in the same sentence (you have to wonder what was going on in Paul's head most of the time). At any rate, do you imagine people often encounter devils with doctrines, or seducing spirits? Do you think you do?

      June 11, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • Science

      Enjoy ..............no fairy in the sky needed .HS

      George Takei Fan Correction On Conan: 'Water Is Gay' (VIDEO)


      June 11, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Observer, it's easier for single people to focus on Jesus then married couples because the couple focuses on the comforts of the world and shows them how worldly cares hinder their devotions, and distract them in the service of God.

      June 11, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tom, Tom, the Other One, you're getting better at deciphering scriptures. No cigar yet.

      June 11, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
  15. Jeff

    Too bad there isn't a logic lobby. It is illogical to think negatively about gay people. It is illogical to believe in magic. It is illogical to believe that the many versions of the bible are true.

    June 11, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • Steve

      Jeff, you are illogical.

      June 11, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • Dippy

      Actually, Jeff is very logical.

      June 11, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
  16. John Tucker

    He really didnt say that. He said some prists could get into a position where they could be blackmailed.

    June 11, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
  17. jasonn13

    How about just showing the "gay lobby" the back door, pardon the expression?

    June 11, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
  18. Buffmuffin

    Have you considered burning them at the stake?

    Has proven effective, i highly recommend it.

    June 11, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
  19. btruth

    How else would they get their SODOMY hookups!?

    June 11, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
    • Observer


      Millions of heteros engage in sodomy. Did you have any point at all?

      June 11, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
  20. Thought Purification

    christians are b itching about GLBT in their countries, while muslims are busy beheading kids in their countries (2 children beheaded by militants, Afghan authorities say), I wonder which religion is better?

    June 11, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      good thing it's not a choice between only those two. both are awful. btw, the bible says to kill g.ays too. you just don't follow god's orders very well. so get off your high horse.

      here's a third choice: non-belief
      let logic and compassion lead you instead of guilt, fear and ignorance.

      June 11, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    • Eli

      the answer you are looking for is neither!

      June 11, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
    • lol??

      pukin's wife is unhappy. pwoblem from da help meets??

      June 11, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Who's "pukin"?

      June 11, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
    • Athy

      Lol is apparently unable to communicate in English.

      June 11, 2013 at 9:57 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.