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. M.A.P.

    Who really cares hat the pope says? It is a fraud, the entire Catholic church! The Vatican is a bank and is more corrupt then most 3rd world governments. Secrets, secrets, secrets. Abuse, hatred, guilt, shame – what a pathetic joke. Hurry up and collapse.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:42 am |
  2. Colin

    Religion is for the weak, the stupid, the ignorant ("Believers") and those who profit from them. How anybody can claim they believe in an invisible creator of the Universe who will cause them to live happily ever after they die and who will periodically intervene in their lives by hearing and answering their prayers and the nclaim NOT to be ingorant or weak is beyond me. Simpletons.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:29 am |
    • Landrover

      I am 100% with you !

      June 12, 2013 at 5:49 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Far greater men than you or I have believed in god/s.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:13 am |
    • Colin

      @ I'm sorry Dave. So what? Far greater men than you and I have beat their wives. That still makes them wife beaters.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:18 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      You implied that all theists are simpletons, which isn't true. You also equate theism with wife beating, which is a very unfair comparison. If you beat your wife, you're a cvnt. You could cure cancer or solve the world's energy crisis but you'd still be a cvnt. However, while many theists are cvnts, many are also decent, compassionate human beings.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:38 am |
    • Gweno

      Your ignorance is only exceeded by your ego. I'm sure people really enjoy being around you. LOL.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:45 am |
    • fred

      I would agree with you to a certain extent. Although I would like to blame an abusive childhood my weakness could well be genetic and I need God in my life. Without God I do not have an off switch and there is no end to the desires this world offers. Jesus said where you are weak I am strong and that works for me.

      You may be fortunate enough that you can stand alone in a cold universe on your own strength (or illusion of strength) and spit at the possibility of God and think such a stance is intelligent. I hate to break the news to you but mathematically the odds of existence without supernatural causation are stacked against you. It is not a smart move to spit on God the odds of whose existence are not subject to calculation. We both apply reason based on our individual make up when dealing with matters science does not address. Science has yet to provide acceptable proof or theory regarding purpose behind an accidental existence.

      When you suggest there is no need for purpose in the miraculous which is self evident that is in stark contrast to soul longing to arrive at the destination which captivated the minds and hearts of some of the greatest men in history.

      June 12, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
  3. Ahoj2You

    Just when you thought SNAP could not say anything dumber: "The church is a monarchy." Amazing. Didn't know that Pope Francis is the son of Pope Benedict and the grandson of J.P. II. What they obviously mean is that the Vatican operates as an autocracy. But even that is not entirely true, as the Curia plays a large role in Papal decisions. As for accountability, SNAP may as well criticize federal judges in the US democratic system, who likewise are appointed for life.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:03 am |
  4. tr

    LOL......EL POPO aint fooling anybody, that whole place called the vatican is and always has been a gay conglomeration trying to appear otherwise........they are ALL gay up in that place.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:03 am |
  5. jonathan

    why the only people that who loved to be gay are christians not a muslim and jewish

    June 12, 2013 at 4:39 am |
  6. Nixon's Ghost

    The Pope chose the name Francis.... and you think he is NOT gay? Comedy

    June 12, 2013 at 4:18 am |
  7. Tyler

    He's an old and senile man. So nothing new.

    June 12, 2013 at 4:02 am |
  8. a-z

    The head leader of the lobby is none other but pope himself!

    June 12, 2013 at 2:44 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Yes, if the gay lobby can get rid of a pope, they should be able to get their man elected.

      June 12, 2013 at 2:53 am |
  9. Dissociate

    "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" I my God! Cardinal Sean O'Malley is a psychopathic sadist who lives behind a mask. I know this for a fact because I am a former child victim of his. Unfortunately though I have no proof in order to prove what O'Malley really is. Sean O'Malley was Cardinal Bernard Laws sidekick I will describe him as. Before Sean was even ordained as a priest he roamed around inside the La Sarette Shrine (not the proper spelling) in Attleboro, Massachusetts as like as though he was some kind of god. Pope Francis, Sean O'Malley has deceived you!

    June 12, 2013 at 2:07 am |
  10. Jessica

    The Gay Lobby. A few Priests that have finally realized that LGBT people are not the devils spawn that the church claims them to be.

    June 12, 2013 at 1:56 am |
  11. JT

    Things the Catholic Church have no credibility to talk about: gays, women, human rights, the raising of children, etc.

    June 12, 2013 at 1:41 am |
    • HotAirAce

      The only thing they might be credible on are their gods and fantasies, and even then there are sufficient variations to suggest they are not authorities in the imaginary realm either.

      June 12, 2013 at 1:44 am |
  12. Still Confirmed

    Is CNN Communist or Fascist? My posts supportive of this argument do not post.

    June 12, 2013 at 1:31 am |
    • Athy

      What argument?

      June 12, 2013 at 1:33 am |
    • Klaark

      You don't know what either of those words mean, so please educate yourself. Perhaps if you were less ignorant and twisted, a private organization would be more inclined to provide you a forum for your opinions.

      June 12, 2013 at 1:46 am |
    • Stay on Topic

      Whatever you say Klaark. CNN is not a private organization (to the rest of the reading planet). If CNN censors commentary for frivolous, childish reasons, what is the point of having a comment bulletin board at all. That is the very definition of Fascist.

      June 12, 2013 at 11:35 am |
  13. the Reality beyond

    Anything for a laugh, anything for the pleasure of the moment. That is all that is important. There is no future, there is no meaning in life. Just get a kick. No morals. No sin. No guilt. You are but an animal so use your wits to get the most gusto, the most pleasure, then die. Just die. That is all there is. Or so Satan would like you to think. You have a God connection he wishes to sever. Selfish mind is Satan's mind. It's not living free, it's living dead. Connect. With God. With God. With God. He is there. Really. What do you think is behind all of this?

    June 12, 2013 at 1:23 am |
    • Observer

      The "connection" to God is destroyed for many by actually reading his Bible. Don't blame Satan for that.

      June 12, 2013 at 1:25 am |
    • Dippy

      Nothing is behind it, you moron. Why do you have to believe there is?

      June 12, 2013 at 1:26 am |
    • jboom

      Dippy, there are many reasons why. Low on the list, but perhaps of interest to atheists, is the question as to whether rationality can arise from irrationality. If we are just atoms, then on what grounds can we even begin to trust our rational judgement?

      June 12, 2013 at 1:32 am |
    • JT

      Believing in such nonsense as Satan is a sign of mental illness.

      June 12, 2013 at 1:42 am |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio


      Because planes fly, cars drive, computers compute, and medicine can cure,

      June 12, 2013 at 1:42 am |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      @ the reality beyond

      Wow – wrong on every account....

      Morals? your god is a moral god huh? have you EVER read your Bible?.....

      your church and clergy are using that 'sin' to try and control peoples lives..... the most amazing con job ever is to convince people they owe the church for some '6000' year old 'sin' and they need to defer to the church from birth to the grave. You cant get much more outright immoral than that.

      If you want to give yourself over to a bunch of con men – knock yourself out...that is truly a wasted life.

      June 12, 2013 at 3:38 am |
    • M.A.P.

      Oh yeah, and noone who has read the bible and called themselves a god fearing christian has ever molested children, destroyed families and lives, murdered innocent people of a different faith etc etc etc. You think christians have any moral high ground? You are pathetic.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:46 am |
  14. Kendall

    Does it matter who's gay/ lesbian or not? We are all people in the end. We are made out of the same stuff and breathe the same air. I believe God loves us all equally 🙂 Bless the world and its people.

    June 12, 2013 at 1:20 am |
    • Dippy

      Kendall, you're absolutely correct. Except for the god part. No god needed.

      June 12, 2013 at 1:24 am |
  15. Observer


    There are NO accurate statistics because there is no method to determine assaults versus the number of opportunities.

    How many people trust their young daughters alone with hetero males?

    Your statistics, even if correct, prove NOTHING.

    Or do you think the problems in churches would end with altar boys being replaced by altar girls? Get real.

    June 12, 2013 at 1:19 am |
    • fred

      The problem is evil and teenage boys and girls are vulnerable as children typically are.. Sin is sin and does not care if you are hetrosexual or homosexual.

      June 12, 2013 at 2:08 pm |

    Mankind create god ( and gods ) ... not the other way around.

    June 12, 2013 at 1:11 am |
    • jboom

      1. Maybe the material universe existed for all eternity and is thus uncreated (eastern religions).
      2. Maybe the material universe created itself out of nothing (Steven Hawking, atheists).
      3. Maybe an uncreated Divinity created the universe (Christians, Jews, Muslims).

      (Yes, In addition to one of the above, man did create gods.)

      All three are matters of faith. However, evidence is really in favor of a rational intelligence behind creation.

      For starters, see "Unlocking the Mystery of Life" (1 hr video at amazon), which essentially puts the ball in the court of materialists to show how their metaphysics are not matters of faith. And no its not a god of the gaps argument. Its not a 'can't explain it so it must be god' argument.

      June 12, 2013 at 1:25 am |
    • RobbyS

      The Encyclopedists said that men invented God .How would they have known? Men can of course invented an idea of God, in fact many ideas of God, that are all wrong. We seem tyo have inventive minds that are so often wrong.

      June 12, 2013 at 1:31 am |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      There is little rational or intelligent in the design of the universe. Diseases that can kill us are just one objection. That the universe does not care about us and that religion is solipistic is another.

      June 12, 2013 at 1:36 am |
    • jboom

      Robby, my point is that modern evidence should make atheists less certain of their atheism.

      June 12, 2013 at 1:39 am |
    • jboom

      another video besides 'Unlocking ...', is 'The Priviledged Planet'. Also at amazon instant video (or DVD).

      It actually does a pretty good job showing that there is a lot of evidence of intelligent design in the universe. Even
      Stephen Hawking admits the universe is full of examples of evidence of intelligent design. He does not believe, but he admits to vast evidence.

      For those who would like to see how it used to be that This will

      June 12, 2013 at 1:48 am |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      The earth is in a cosmic shooting gallety, 80 tons of cosmic debis falls on the earth each year.
      Disease is rampant. If it weren't for antibiodics we would die of bacterial pneumonia.
      Humans cannot live on 2/3's of the earth.
      Gasses we can't smell can kill us.
      Volcanos and earthquakes kill thousands.
      Humanity was almost reduced to extinction.
      Hardly privileged.
      Oh and the sun is going to blow up and desrtoy us all.

      June 12, 2013 at 2:05 am |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio


      I'd argue some more but Oscar, my cat needs, his ritual attentention, and as we all know, cats think they are god! 🙂

      June 12, 2013 at 2:12 am |
    • HotAirAce

      jboom, Hawking usually uses the word "seems" and then goes on to show that what seems to the work of some unfounded god is not. And he has concluded that no god was required for the universe to come into existence.

      June 12, 2013 at 2:31 am |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      "Stephen Hawking admits the universe is full of examples of evidence of intelligent design. He does not believe, but he admits to vast evidence."

      ahhh...no that's a flat lie.

      June 12, 2013 at 2:42 am |
    • jboom

      No, its true:

      "Our universe and its laws appear to have a design that both is tailor-made to support us and, if we are to exist, leaves little room for alteration. That is not easily explained and raises the natural question of why it is that way…"
      – Stephen Hawking, "The Grand Design"

      "He [Hawking] devotes almost an entire chapter to giving extensive details of the spectacular fine-tuning of both the laws of nature and the constants associated with fundamental physics. The evidence he gives is impressive,"
      -John Lennox,"God and Stephen Hawking"

      June 12, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • The real Tom

      He doesn't say a word about a creator or a god being involved in said "fine tuning", does he? Why do you suppose that is, nincompoop?

      June 12, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
    • jboom

      HotAir, the point is that even Hawking admits it appears there is intelligence in design. Period. Thats all I said. I find that quite interesting. (Don't read more into it than that Tom-Tom.)

      He does not conclude anything, scientifically. He merely steps into metaphysics himself by stating his belief. His stature as a scientist may sway or reaffirm the beliefs of popular science hobbyists, but his own peers know the difference between a scientist and a philosopher. Through history, some have been both. But Hawking is so full of self contradiction lately, he cannot be taken seriously as a philosopher. In fact, he himself says philosopher is dead, but then engages in it throughout his latest books.

      I do have great admiration for him as a scientist and his scientific contributions

      June 12, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      My translation of what Hawking wrote/believes: If you are fucking stupid and believe mythical nonsense, things may seem to appear to be the work of an intelligent designer but you are fucking stupid and are wrong.

      But mentally ill delusionals get their comfort wherever they can, and Hawking, Dawkins, Krauss et al are a better source of science than The Babble, so it's a small step forward if you believers are reading them, even if you distort what they are saying.

      June 13, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • tallulah13

      Hey jboom: instead of trying to sell your video on amazon, you should read what Hawking said in the context in which it was said. That way, you won't sound so foolish.

      June 13, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • jboom

      king's context is very clear. Hawking devotes almost an entire chapter providing (and admitting) the evidence for intelligent design. Read it for yourself. The data is impressive. Read my original point: it was not to suggest Hawking believes in an intelligent creator, only that he admits there is plenty of evidence. Not proof, mind you. Evidence.

      June 13, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • jboom

      BTW tullio, "Unlocking the Mysteries of Life" is not my video.
      It poses some interesting questions in light of modern day findings in mircobiology.

      Those who would watch the video would look at intelligent design, or theistic evolution, with less derision.

      (Those on the video are former evolutionists in various scientific fields, microbiology, etc.)

      Computer simulation of specified complexity at the molecular level.

      Whether one is a theist or an atheist, she could watch it and appreciate it on her own terms.

      June 13, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
  17. franco j

    GOD created ADAM AND EVE,,,,,,,these sick priest think EVE sound better IF SHE WAS called STEVE

    June 12, 2013 at 1:06 am |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      God most likely does not exit and did not create humanity.

      June 12, 2013 at 1:08 am |
    • Observer

      Steve might have started the parallel civilization called Nod in the Bible. Read a Bible someday. Eve was just a part of Adam. It apparently took a man to start a civilization. Then incest kept it going.

      June 12, 2013 at 1:09 am |
    • MM

      1996 called. It wants its overused cliche back.

      June 12, 2013 at 8:56 am |
    • Joey

      Since Eve was essentially a clone of Adam, Eve was in fact a man.

      June 12, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
  18. Observer


    Can you or your significant other think of ANY perversions that heteros engage in? Do only gays engage in perversions?

    Skip the world-class HYPOCRISY.

    June 12, 2013 at 1:01 am |
  19. Jeff

    Christianity is a sick perversion.

    June 12, 2013 at 1:00 am |
  20. franco j

    now wee all see the truth////let the truth be told, priest are not in it for the lord but in it for all that child abuse
    that we here about on the news
    i guess Islam is the true religion of GOD

    June 12, 2013 at 1:00 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
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.