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. CD classique

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    June 15, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
  2. Andre Belous

    New pope Francis naked truth He Don't whant you to know. GAY ???

    June 15, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • Tia Michelle

      Perhaps the consecrated maiden from the "How Did She Know?" video on YouTube was right all along....

      June 15, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
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    June 15, 2013 at 11:16 am |
  4. Colin

    I'm telling you, it is a CHOICE and a sick, perverted lifestyle. But enough about Catholicism, let's discuss gays.......

    June 15, 2013 at 9:02 am |
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    June 15, 2013 at 2:29 am |
  6. Gay pride month

    more and more and more gay news

    June 14, 2013 at 10:56 am |
  7. JMEF

    Gay Lobby right across from the Straight Lobby but no Celibate Lobby, I guess they are all getting a bit on the side man or woman , boy or girl.

    June 14, 2013 at 8:04 am |
  8. ROB

    Romans 1:18-32
    1Corinthian 5:9-13
    They will be without excuse because although they knew GOD they did not esteem him as GOD, but became vain in their reasoning’s, and their UNDISCERNING (indiscriminate) heart became darkened!
    Adj. 1. undiscerning – lacking discernment
    Indiscriminate – not marked by fine distinctions.

    June 14, 2013 at 3:24 am |
    • Steve

      That is sadly the state of those that reject the truth.

      June 14, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • sam stone

      steve: not to mention the pompous fools who claim to KNOW "the truth"

      June 18, 2013 at 10:48 am |
  9. Wesley

    There needs to be only one lobby in the church and that is the Jesus lobby

    June 13, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • Athy

      What in hell is a jesus lobby?

      June 13, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • Focus

      Church: Keep the focus on God, focus on

      -Sharing the good news of the gospels to those around the world
      -Loving God above all else
      -Reaching out to the needy and be charitable

      June 14, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
  10. derp

    How can you tell who is gay and who is not?

    They all dress in drag.

    June 13, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Can you tell who is straight by what they wear too?

      June 13, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • derp

      "Can you tell who is straight by what they wear too?"

      Not at the vatican.

      June 13, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • derp

      They need to get some rainbow beanies.

      June 13, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • Science

      Hey Bill how are the chains tasting today I see they are yanking you back to that crooked bible.

      June 14, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • Science

      Hello Bill

      Evolution billions of years no divine power (god) needed !............the bible is BS like you.

      From Hot Springs to HIV, Same Protein Complexes Are Hijacked to Promote Viruses

      June 10, 2013 — Biologists from Indiana University and Montana State University have discovered a striking connection between viruses such as HIV and Ebola and viruses that infect organisms called archaea that grow in volcanic hot springs. Despite the huge difference in environments and a 2 billion year evolutionary time span between archaea and humans, the viruses hijack the same set of proteins to break out of infected cells.


      June 15, 2013 at 8:52 am |
  11. 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 1:28 pm |
    • jboom

      oops – sorry – that was a reply to post on p.13

      June 13, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
  12. EX catholic

    DUH! So what is new about this? The ho-mos and corruption have been intrinsically part and substance through the history of the RCC from its beginning ca. the IV c. DO NOT BE DECEIVED by this man, he knows a whole lot more than that.


    June 13, 2013 at 11:27 am |
  13. Vitale

    Quicken up! get the Jesus lobby back in the church!

    June 13, 2013 at 8:55 am |
    • 2Timothy 2
      June 13, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • Pete

      "2Timothy 2"

      What's so hysterical about you posting that scriptures is that so many Christians on this blog are doing the very thing that scripture warns them not to do. LMAO!

      June 13, 2013 at 9:07 am |
    • sam stone

      they have been waiting for a couple thousand years to get jesus to come and dedicate the jesus lobby, but he is a no show

      June 13, 2013 at 9:08 am |
    • Dolan


      Persevere with diligence.
      Focus on that which is good.

      Flee from that which is evil and shun from dangerous errors as the scriptures calls you to do.

      Focus on the main thing, the things of the Lord and honor Him in every thought, word, deed and action.

      June 13, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
  14. Reality

    Why the papacy is historically nil:

    Again the problem is in the history. Did Jesus, a simple preacher man, an illiterate rabbi at best, establish a church? No, based on the lack of historical proof e.g. "Thou art Peter" (Matt 16: 18-19) passage only appears in one gospel. Matthew, whoever he was, was therefore a part founder/"necessary accessory" of the Catholic Church, as was Mark, Luke, John, Paul, James his brother, Mary Magdalene, Mary, Joseph , another father if you believe the mamzer stories, the Apostles, Pilate and Constantine. It was a team effort with Pilate being the strangest "necessary accessory" pulling off one of the great cons of human history

    June 13, 2013 at 7:44 am |
    • truthseeker

      Mathew 16:17, Mathew 28:19 and mark 16:15

      June 13, 2013 at 7:56 am |
    • psssst

      "Mathew 16:17, Mathew 28:19 and mark 16:15"

      Hey troll you really need to learn to spell.

      June 13, 2013 at 8:55 am |
    • Reality

      As with all NT passages, the following passages have been thoroughly analyzed for historic authenticity by many contemporary NT scholars. All have been declared to be historically nil.

      Matthew 16:17

      New International Version (NIV)
      17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood,
      but by my Father in heaven.

      Matthew 28:19
      New International Version (NIV)

      19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the
      Son and of the Holy Spirit,

      Mark 16:15

      New International Version (NIV)
      15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation

      See http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb016.html

      and http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb522.html and


      for added details. See also Professor Gerd Ludemann's conclusions in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 694 and 695 and the specific review of each of the passages.

      June 13, 2013 at 10:23 am |
  15. yadin

    Pope Francis should spearhead the reforming of the curia. This is what ills the Vatican for years and and he should do it if only to prove to prove to his flock that finally they have the right guy who sits on St. peter's chair.

    June 13, 2013 at 6:44 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Surely papal infallibility implies that every guy in the hot seat is the right guy and everything he does (or she, in the case of Joan) is right?

      June 13, 2013 at 6:58 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Sorry Hal wannabe, that's not what infallibility means.

      June 13, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • Shortround

      Papal Infallibility only applies to decrees made "ex cathedra" (from the chair). I believe there are only two such instances not counting canonizations, involving the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption.

      June 13, 2013 at 12:43 pm |

    Woo hoo. Gays get to go to heaven too ... they already inside the Vatican !

    June 13, 2013 at 12:25 am |
    • Science

      No one goes to heaven ................there is no heaven or hell..

      June 13, 2013 at 5:35 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Perhaps he means Heaven, the gay club in London.

      June 13, 2013 at 8:11 am |
    • Science

      Hey bible thumpers/creationists and the ICR.......no god(s) needed........... the bible is BS.

      Destiny & DNA......................World Science Festival


      High Diversity of Flying Reptiles in England 110 Million Years Ago

      June 12, 2013 — Brazilian paleontologists Taissa Rodrigues, of the Federal University of Espirito Santo, and Alexander W. A. Kellner, of the National Museum of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, have just presented the most extensive review yet available of toothed pterosaurs from the Cretaceous of England. The study features detailed taxonomic information, diagnoses and photographs of 30 species and was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.


      Three-Billion-Year-Old Microfossils Include Plankton

      June 6, 2013 — Spindle-shaped inclusions in three-billion-year-old rocks are microfossils of plankton that probably inhabited the oceans around the globe during that time, according to an international team of researchers.


      June 13, 2013 at 8:51 am |
  17. 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.

    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 11:05 pm |
    • jboom

      oops – that was mean for a reply on p. 13

      June 12, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
    • Observer

      Even if intelligent design turned out to be correct, that certainly doesn't prove the existence of any God. The world could have been created by Moe, Larry and Curly before they came to earth or a committee of zombies, among an infinite number of possibilities.

      June 12, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
    • Athy

      Those are just as likely.

      June 12, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
    • jboom

      Of course it does not prove the existence of any particular god, or plurality of gods.

      Existence of a particular god would be a matter of faith informed by reason.

      June 13, 2013 at 12:30 am |
  18. Union of souls

    This sums the purpose of marriage very well!

    If only this purpose as ordained by God is upheld by every dad and mom, what a gift this would be to the future of humanity!

    "The purpose of marriage is not to have pleasure and to be idle, but to procreate and bring up children, to support a household. ✅

    This, of course, is a huge burden full of great cares and toils. ✅

    But you have been created by God to be a husband or a wife that you may learn to bear these troubles. ✅

    Those who have no love for children are... unworthy of being called men or women; for they despise the blessing of God, the creator and author of marriage.” ✅

    June 12, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • The real Tom

      You are aware that gays can have children and that they love them, aren't you? Or are you just one of HS's sock puppets?

      June 12, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • Observer

      Union of souls,

      Since you don't agree with all of God's rules about marriage, you'd have no reason to use the Bible as an excuse to oppose gay marriage. Right?

      June 12, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
    • Akira

      One does not need marriage to procreate, as the thousands of children awaiting adoption can attest to.

      What a load of hooey.

      June 12, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
    • Hal

      That's only your opinion about marriage. If we decide to define it differently, that's our privilege.

      June 12, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
    • .

      ""The purpose of marriage is not to have pleasure and to be idle, but to procreate and bring up children, to support a household. ✅"


      The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

      Like their heterosexual counterparts, many gay and lesbian people want to form stable, long-lasting, committed relationships. Indeed, many of them do and that large proportions are currently involved in such a relationship and that a substantial number of those couples have been together 10 or more years.

      Research demonstrates that the psychological and social aspects of committed relationships between same-sex partners closely resemble those of heterosexual partnerships. Like heterosexual couples, same-sex couples form deep emotional attachments and commitments. Heterosexual and same-sex couples alike face similar issues concerning intimacy, love, equity, loyalty, and stability, and they go through similar processes to address those issues. Research examining the quality of intimate relationships also shows that gay and lesbian couples have levels of relationship satisfaction similar to or higher than those of heterosexual couples.

      A large number of gay and lesbian couples raise children. Children and teenagers whose parents provide loving guidance in the context of secure home environments are more likely to flourish – and this is just as true for children of same-sex parents as it is for children of opposite-sex parents. Based on research findings, mental health professionals have also reached a consensus that the quality of relationships among significant adults in a child’s or adolescent’s life is associated with adjustment. When relationships between parents are characterized by love, warmth, cooperation, security, and mutual support, children and adolescents are more likely to show positive adjustment. In contrast, when relationships between parents are conflict-ridden and acrimonious, the adjustment of children and adolescents is likely to be less favorable. These correlations are just as true for children of same-sex parents as for children of opposite-sex parents.

      Assertions that heterosexual couples are inherently better parents than same sex couples, or that the children of lesbian or gay parents fare worse than children of heterosexual parents, have no support in the scientific research literature. On the contrary, the scientific research that has directly compared outcomes for children with gay and lesbian parents with outcomes for children with heterosexual parents has consistently shown that the former are as fit and capable as the latter and that their children are as psychologically healthy and well adjusted as children reared by heterosexual parents.

      June 13, 2013 at 9:02 am |
    • Salero21

      How can Akira be so stupid?

      June 13, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • David

      @Salero21 – How can you be so stupid? Everything Akira said was true, you do not need marriage to procreate. Anyone who doesn't understand this must not understand how babies are made.

      June 13, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • David

      ""The purpose of marriage is not to have pleasure and to be idle, but to procreate and bring up children, to support a household."

      So I take it you are against infertile people getting married or people over the age of 55?

      "Those who have no love for children are... unworthy of being called men or women"

      What about those who God apparently doesn't love because he made them infertile?

      June 13, 2013 at 11:28 am |
  19. jimmydemello

    I know how to reform the Catholic Church – try following the New Testament – I know it's a stretch for you but it just might work.

    June 12, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
    • Gord

      Don't think so, jimmy. There's some pretty rough stuff in the new teste too. Might inspire more sinister acts by the Catlickers.

      June 12, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Atheists whining about something/anything is breathing for them. LOL.

      June 12, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • Hal

      Are you saying that other Christians are better at following the New Testament? How many pastors have taken vows of poverty? How many lay protestants sell all they have and give it to the poor?

      June 12, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
  20. Pete Clarke

    Don't waste your life being for or against religion, its non-sense anyway. Look more toward using your earth time to build a sound society, frankly Its the only time you are really sure of...

    June 12, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Pete Clarke. then the unbelievers perish into the eternal flames. Think infrastructure while you're here, since it needs repairing.

      Revelation 21:8

      But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the a.bominable, and m.urderers, and w.horemongers, and s.orcerers, and i.dolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.


      June 12, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
    • Court Carson

      True That Peter Clarke. Ignore HeavenSent.

      June 12, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    • Emma Stone

      Pete Clarke. Agree 100%. Any time spent dwelling on man's gods is time that could have been used on being more productive/happy/better etc. Dreaming of a cozy "afterlife" for yourSELF and a nasty "afterlife" for your enemies is an embarrassing psychosis of Humankind.

      June 12, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Atheists whining about something/anything is breathing for them. LOL.

      June 12, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tom as Court Carson, you posted "True That Peter Clarke. Ignore HeavenSent."

      Answer: Typical BAITER tactic. Thanks for proving what a BAITER IS AND DOES and thanks for playing

      June 12, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • Observer


      Be sure to read your passage again. Especially the reference to liars. Remember that when you make brainless accusations like last night.

      June 12, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Oh, now Court Carson is also me?

      What a hoot. Why do you even post here, HS, if every post on here is one I wrote? You idiot. Don't you ever get tired of being so stupid?

      June 12, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
    • Observer

      The real Tom,

      Speaking of HS being stupid, last night she claimed that you and I are the same person.

      June 12, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Atheists whining about something/anything is breathing for them. LOL.

      June 12, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • The real Tom

      She apparently thinks every post here is mine. I wonder if her family is aware of her mental condition. It's truly frightening to think that someone that insane is living on her own and has access to heavy machinery and a computer. And a stove.

      June 12, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
    • Athy

      By definition, stupid people cannot get tired of being stupid.

      June 12, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
    • Hal

      Meanwhile, how many Christians are fearful of people who are different? Unbelieving of evidence and scientific knowledge? Do abominable things to others? Believe in magical things like faith healing, miracles, and creationism? Treat the Bible like an idol? Lie about people of other faiths, people of no faith, competing ideologies and science?

      Pull that thing out of your own eye first, buddy.

      June 13, 2013 at 12:03 am |
    • sam stone

      HS is a troll who just blathers Babble quotes.

      June 13, 2013 at 8:45 am |
    • derp

      Tom as Court Carson, you posted "True That Peter Clarke. Ignore HeavenSent."

      Answer: Typical BAITER tactic. Thanks for proving what a BAITER IS AND DOES and thanks for playing"

      You would know.

      You are the master baiter.

      June 13, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Like clockwork, backups ensuring the lie stands. Pathetic.

      June 14, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • sam stone

      HS: Still got that Jeebus marital aid jammed up yer stanky weedpatch?

      June 17, 2013 at 11:01 am |
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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.