June 11th, 2013
01:35 PM ET

Pope Francis: `Gay lobby' exists inside Vatican

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(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. 47of74

    Insert track lighting and fabulous fashion jokes here.

    June 11, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
    • Giggles

      You hear the one about the sheet's going to heII? Apparently they were Satin!!

      June 11, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
    • Knock Knock

      Who's there?


      Banana who?

      Banana Hammock! Now wheres the Party?!?!

      June 11, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
    • Whats the difference between...

      a pregnant Nun and a light bulb?...

      You can't turn off a h o r n y pregnant Nun...

      June 11, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
  2. DavidArizona

    95% of the Catholic Clergy are gay. They weed out hetero priest in the seminaries. Who are they kidding.

    June 11, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • Akira

      Could you please post a citation for this? Thanks.

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


      So the solution is to replace altar boys with altar girls, right? Obviously, you'd support that.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
    • Bill

      No, we need to replace them with Altar-Men! They can start up a new Catholic Comic book series!

      June 11, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
    • utsnoshark

      Wondering what your source is for the percentages you are citing? Please list your source, otherwise it is presumed to be a made up number and therefore a waste of everyone's time.

      June 11, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
    • Bill

      DavidAz knows from experience, no citation needed...

      June 11, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
  3. nailheads

    Try this: Go on Google and type in "Catholic groups warn against ABC's 'Modern Family' " ..and behold! Nothing about what in this CNN blog reveals is a huge effort by the Catholic Church to push back against the gay agenda. Instead, you are witnessing the scrubbing of criticism by (real) Catholic groups of the gay agenda, particularly ABC's earnest attempt to push gay marriage and the adoption of children by gay couples. What Google has done is frontload your results with glowing reviews of "Modern Family' (by quasi-catholic or rebel catholic groups) and scrubbed any negative reviews and/or contrarian Catholic viewpoints about the show. With so many young minds yet unmolded, and so many ill-informed parents seeking information through Google's search engine, is it any wonder polls (even though slanted) regularly show an increasing support for the gay agenda? Try any combination of words and see if you can get ANY negative links on ABC's latest propaganda project.

    June 11, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • Roger

      why should there be anything negative?

      June 11, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • Akira

      How does gay marriage/gay adoption impact you personally?
      What possible significance does it have on your daily life?
      How would your life change if gay marriage was made legal in all 50 states? Gay adoption?

      June 11, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Have you ever had a glimmer of a thought that the gay agenda is only a wish to be treated as everyone else is? To be allowed to enjoy everything that everyone else is allowed to enjoy? To have the same standing in society as everyone else?

      June 11, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • Bill

      "To have the same standing in society as everyone else?" Careful, don't reveal the real agenda! No not the one about gays wanting to be treated equally, but the conservative religious agenda to continue denying rights to American citizens based upon their reading of ancient scrolls!

      June 11, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
    • David L.

      There is no " gay agenda " ....only the fight for human and civil rights. Who are gay people? They are your children, brother, sisters, family members, uncle, aunts....neighbors and friends. They are your doctors, police officers, fire fighters, and soldiers...some even do your hair. I think you would want your kids to have the same rights as everyone else. No one should be discrimated agains for how you were born....and yes gay people are born gay. It is a normal part of human and animal biology.

      June 11, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • jboom

      nailheads, its interesting that a gallop poll shows Americans guess that between 20-25% of the population is gay.
      Gallop shows the actual estimate is between 3 – 8 % of population is gay. (And that number apperently depends on how the question is phrased.)

      June 11, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Yes, no doubt spearheaded (appropriately phallic reference) by The Fabulously Gay Branch of the (insert alarming chord in the key of C) (cue reverb and echo) ILLUMINATI!!!

      June 13, 2013 at 2:00 am |
  4. The real Tom

    HS is the reason some priests prefer men to women.

    June 11, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
    • Doris

      Who – Scented Tissue? Well yes, sometimes it's just an allergic reaction I think.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tom, blaming others will never allow you to grow spiritually.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
  5. concernedcitizen

    I'M GAY...for Jesus!

    June 11, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
    • Edweird69

      Since there's no Jesus, I assume that means you're straight.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
  6. Rodents for Romney

    And this is news ?
    My first exposure to this "behavior" was our archbishop who openly cavorted with a select circle of priests.
    Everyone knew it was going on.
    It's the same everywhere.

    June 11, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
  7. Robin Jones

    “In the Curia,” Francis said, referring to Catholicism’s central bureaucracy, “there are holy people. But there is also a stream of corruption.” But Francis said that he cannot promote the reform himself. “I am very disorganized,” he said “I have never been good at this.” Great leadership selection there, cardinals. And, apparently, God didn't give them any help with it, and isn't going to step in and help Francis overcome his weakness. It's time to call in Odin – now there's a god who can get stuff done!

    June 11, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I saw Odin once at a bus station. One-eyed old geezer with a bird on his shoulder. I gave him some change.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Nah, Thor's the one you want. He'll hammer their butts!

      June 13, 2013 at 2:01 am |
  8. ivan

    CNN can do better than this. It was just revealed LAST YEAR that there were gay clergy..!? What about 99.99999999% of abuse cases in the catholic church involving MEN and the abuse of BOYS..?!

    June 11, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
    • Observer


      So the answer is to replace all altar boys with altar GIRLS, right?

      June 11, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
    • ivan

      Definitely not. I'm awash with the perversions of the Catholic Church. – My point being that these men were gay when the abuse scandals broke. It isn't new news.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
  9. faith

    I don't know how to love him.
    What to do, how to move him.
    I've been changed, yes really changed.
    In these past few days, when I've seen myself,
    I seem like someone else.
    I don't know how to take this.
    I don't see why he moves me.
    He's a man. He's just a man.
    And I've had so many men before,
    In very many ways,
    He's just one more.
    Should I bring him down?
    Should I scream and shout?
    Should I speak of love,
    Let my feelings out?
    I never thought I'd come to this.
    What's it all about?
    Don't you think it's rather funny,
    I should be in this position.
    I'm the one who's always been
    So calm, so cool, no lover's fool,
    Running every show.
    He scares me so.
    I never thought I'd come to this.
    What's it all about?
    Yet, if he said he loved me,
    I'd be lost. I'd be frightened.
    I couldn't cope, just couldn't cope.
    I'd turn my head. I'd back away.
    I wouldn't want to know.
    He scares me so.
    I want him so.
    I love him so.

    June 11, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
    • The real Tom


      JCSuperstar hasn't been relevant ever.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
    • faith

      knowing god is like secksual ecstasy

      June 11, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Let's have sects, faith.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
    • faith

      that's the best description i know. meeting jesus christ is like exquisite s e x u a l delight

      June 11, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
    • Akira

      I wonder if Mary Magdalene actually likened knowing Jesus to sexual ecstasy. Somehow, I doubt it.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
    • Akira

      Sexualizing Jesus, faith? Oh, my. That is most definitely not normal.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • Doris

      When I read those lyrics, I can just smell the stench of decades-old moldy hippy clothing that Peggy Lipton would have thrown out years ago. A bottle of Purel would get up and run from that stuff.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
    • sam stone

      "meeting jesus christ is like exquisite s e x u a l delight"

      one click, filth, and you could be having that experience

      June 12, 2013 at 7:14 am |
    • Faith

      just like i predicted

      July 12, 2013 at 8:50 am |
  10. Akira

    I like Pope Francis. I believe he has the most common sense of any Pope I have seen in a while...but I do not think that the corruption he is talking about is necessarily about gays within the Vatican; there is plenty of malfeasance surrounding other aspects of daily life within its walls. Perhaps he should also address that.

    June 11, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
  11. independent_sheitz

    When Francis confessed that atheists would be in heaven as well, he basically admitted that all religions are BS!

    June 11, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
    • Edweird69

      So true! It boggles my skull when I hear atheism referred to as "a religion".

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

      Atheists who lead a righteous life could very well be received into the very heavens of Gods' kingdom domains. Even coupled gays who live an upstanding righteous living arrangement might just find their way into the godly kingdom domains of a heaven but alas, there would be no growth of family for the coupled gays. It is truly sad that gays reaching their heavenly reward and no possibilities of child prodigies for their coupled gayety to continue on in their abominable ways. They will die in their heaven with no one to carry on in generational ways. So sad. 😥

      June 11, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
    • Edweird69

      @Lionly – How stupid! Gays aren't sterile you bonehead! Lots of gays have bio kids, adopted, surrogate kids. What the he11 is wrong with you?

      June 12, 2013 at 12:17 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      You might have been right if that is what he had actually said.

      July 12, 2013 at 9:18 am |

    Trinity is a fundamental of hinduism, and so is cross, including oly htradition of hindu gay ism, hind love ism, why not call him, what he really is a hinood, secular, self centered, denire of truth absolute GOD, pretending to be a god himself.

    June 11, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Poe's Law: it's impossible to distinguish a sufficiently advanced troll from a truly ignorant twit

      June 11, 2013 at 10:07 pm |

      Islam bot absolute specimen of hurting of brain ism; lacking all facts ism.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:10 pm |

      He believes in fundamentals of hinduism, nothing is wrong to call, spade, a spade, or hindu, a hindu, ignorant.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
    • concernedcitizen

      ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION , I find what you're saying very interesting, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:29 pm |

      Nothing wrong to call you wrong, absolute irritable bowl-cut syndrome of the head Islam bot.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
  13. independent_sheitz

    If Francis were smart enough, he'd have disbanded the Vatican and tell the 1B+ sheep to keep touching themselves for ever and ever, semen! 🙂

    June 11, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
  14. get to know your religion

    Take a good look from a rational perspective:



    June 11, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • jboom

      And on the other hand ...

      Archeological evidence for Jesus:



      June 11, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Any of that evidence support Jesus's alleged "divinity"?

      June 11, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
    • jboom

      For me, careful consideration of the testimonies of the earliest witnesses (whose accounts are record on the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) is such that I do not understand how an honest person can consider belief in His divinity as irrational.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
    • jboom

      Not that you were implying that, but that many, many on this forum has.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • jboom


      June 11, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • Observer


      Read the Bible where his own disciples didn't even recognize Jesus after Easter.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
    • Roger

      jboom: "testimonies of the earliest witnesses"

      What witnesses? OK, Paul says some things. Anyone else that you can name?

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

      Roger, the first chapter of the book of John is a great place to start. The author clearly believes in the Divinity of Christ.

      June 11, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
    • jboom

      Observer, the disciples did not recognize Jesus initially because He had a new, resurrected body. After the resurrection, He is the first fruit of the New Creation, the new Adam.

      June 11, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
    • Observer


      Of course. God didn't want him to look exactly as he did before so that people would think he was someone else. Makes sense to you.

      June 11, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
    • jboom

      Observer, the text clearly says that some disciples did not recognize him initially. But they did recognize him.

      If one believes in The Divine Creator of all things, its not much to then believe that a resurrected, renewed body, would appear different.

      June 11, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
  15. Joshua F

    CNN-Where being gay is news! What a joke.

    June 11, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
    • Edweird69

      Well, obviously it is... you tuned in.

      June 11, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
  16. dillonmech

    Good luck see ya all up there

    June 11, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • Edweird69

      up where?

      June 11, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
  17. Lisa

    A gay lobby? Oh, say it isn't true! LOL. A certain percentage of the world is gay – get over it and go on with our day to day business already like adults. Geez.

    June 11, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • Edweird69

      Impossible! Haters still like to use their playground bullying tactics to make themselves feel powerful, and important. They use childish insults (calling gays pedophiles, perverts, etc.), as their weapon of choice. I like your sentiment, however.

      June 11, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
  18. faith

    some chick is cryin

    I've been very hopeful, so far
    Now for the first time I think we're going wrong
    Hurry up and tell me this is just a dream
    Oh could we start again please?

    I think you've made your point now
    You've even gone a bit too far to get the message home
    Before it gets too frightening, we ought to call a halt
    So could we start again please?

    I've been living to see you
    Dying to see you, but it shouldn't be like this
    This was unexpected, what do I do now?
    Could we start again please?

    I think you've made your point now
    You've even gone a bit too far to get the message home
    Before it gets too frightening, we ought to call a halt
    So could we start again please?
    Could we start again please?
    Could we start again?

    June 11, 2013 at 9:39 pm |

    • "Well, she's walking through the clouds,
      With a circus mind that's running wild,
      Butterflies and Zebras,
      And Moonbeams and fairy tales.
      That's all she ever thinks about."

      June 11, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • Science

      No fricking bible or red horn-y beast needed faithy/fredy............the forest .

      Modern Humans Did Not Settle in Asia Before Eruption of Sumatra Volcano 74,000 Years Ago, Study Finds
      June 11, 2013 —


      June 11, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
    • faith

      later, i c this dude gettin stoned (with rocks) and bleeding all over, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran on him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling on God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.

      June 11, 2013 at 9:49 pm |

    • Better Stephen were hung. He would have been quiet then.

      June 11, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • faith

      i think, man, nobody's gonna blieve this junk. i gots 2 edit this thing. and my agent reads it and laughs. boy, u gots some imagination. but that dog won't hunt.

      so, i'm figuring on what else i can put in there 2 transition to the parts where saul comes along. we want him to take the focus off of jebbuus cause he's kinda done his thing. we figure saul can b a hero type dude that can talk a good game. so, i get back to work while my wife tells me i'm an idiot. u think u gonna make money on that trash?

      i fear she's right. always is

      June 11, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • Edweird69

      @Faith – "Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears.." Stopped their ears? What does that mean? You'd be seeing hallucinations too, if you were being pelted with large stones.

      June 11, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
  19. Edweird69

    @gs – I was naughty as a child, and Santa left coal in my stocking. Wish I would have been nice instead of naughty. Now this? !!

    June 11, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
  20. independent_sheitz

    Good Christians should practice what Adam and Eve practiced – incest! They couldn't have grandchildren without incest! lol! 🙂

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

      Hey sheep, what does that say about your fvvcking god? 🙂

      June 11, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      independent_sheitz, how in the world did you come to that conclusion? Oh, wait, you read it on an unbelievers sight.

      June 11, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      mea culpa, I meant to type site.

      June 11, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • independent_sheitz

      Which conclusion – you touch yourself? 🙂

      June 11, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Did you graduate from the Tom foolery school?

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

      That would put him way ahead of an imbecile that thinks "mute point" is meaningful, you bonehead.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
    • The real Tom

      HS is a liar, you know. She lies all the time. She lies about her bosses. She lies about others' posts. She lies about god.

      If you're stupid enough to believe her, you're stupid enough.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      The real Tom, mute point is my way to politely tell you to zip your lips.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Liar. Do you think you can fool anyone here, you moron?

      June 11, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tom, my bosses relied on the bullying technique and all it got them was being tossed out of their positions and ordered never to come back. So keep up with that old stale technique that doesn't work.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Works perfectly.

      You're a lying ass and a hypocrite who got fired because you couldn't take direction or criticism and you were obnoxious to your bosses and coworkers. Not a single person ever wished you were back in the office once you left.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tom, lying about facts does not change them.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • independent_sheitz

      Keep praying HS! You might get a job at a local church – mopping up semen!

      June 11, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      No need to work sheitz. I enjoy my retirement.

      June 11, 2013 at 11:45 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.