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. faith

    got to hand it to dodo. she thinks of everything. i c the kingdom crumbling under her enormous worn out rear end right now. how's that job going murdie? workin hard i c. how many hours u been on here in the past week? huh? 140? when do u poop, dodo? o. i 4got. dodo don't poop. she's gawwwwd.

    June 11, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
  2. faith

    yea. that'll work. okay tards. fsm is god, go worship her. bye bye.

    woow. lookie yonder. all them xtards chasing fsm!

    June 11, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
  3. don

    do they have anything on underneath thier robes other than a jock strap?

    June 11, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Go look and get back to us. We'll wait.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
  4. Richard Augustine

    I am proudly both gay and Christian... Oxymoron, I think not! Jesus preached love in his life. Jesus ate with gentiles in his lifetime, something forbidden in his day. So today, why not look at it this way, lgbt is the modern gentile, and Jesus would sit and dine with us and us with him. Jesus died for our sins, including the sin of being gay, did he not? The Lamb of God was sent here because of our sin, St John the Baptist took and baptized Jesus in the Jordan, and he laid the sin of the world on to Jesus before his death. So when Jesus died, he died for ALL our sins. A Christian who does not believe that, in my opinion, cannot profess to be a Christian! A person who hasn't read the Nicene creed and agreed to one of the most important points in it has not truly been a follower, "...for us and for our salvation..." Let's not forget, our sins (past, present, and future) were forgiven at Christ's death. It is impossible for us to not sin, that's why Jesus was sent. If we aren't sinning by being gay, we are all still committing a sin somewhere else in our lives. If you condemn a gay person for committing sin, stop, because you too, are committing a sin somewhere, and gays aren't condemning you for it!

    June 11, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • Mr. Magoo

      Please give up Christianity!

      June 11, 2013 at 5:34 pm |

      Sure you are a oxymoron, quantified pig, self centered, secular by your hindu ignorant nature.

      June 11, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • faith

      dodo, u ain't made 1 convert to atheism

      June 11, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • Mr. Magoo

      @FAith. No one is trying to convert anyone. Its just my opinion that you will die living a lie. You people convert not me.

      June 11, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • Richard Augustine

      Well folks, I don't ever plan on turning my back on my Christian faith. We all have our opinions on God, church, religion and salvation, but mine is set in cement and will not budge! I'd recommend picking up a book written by The Rev Paul C Jong, it really has some valuable insights. Oh, and by the way, I am not Hindu, I am a member of the Anglican Communion, I am part of a strong catholic and apostolic tradition and family.

      June 11, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • Finding Solace

      Hi Richard Augustine, here's a great loving place where you and many others could find true solace at!


      June 12, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • Arthur Bryant

      So you actually believe that being yourself is a "sin"? How sad. Dump the church.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
  5. Pope

    I promise you a great after life if you give us 10% of your earnings while you are alive. Really. I promise.

    June 11, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
  6. bostontola

    The churches are in a tough spot. Their bible says gay is a sin. Sin is a choice, so gay must be choice. It is tough when your god given scripture conflicts with science, like when it says the earth was created before the sun.

    June 11, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • Dan

      They are making it up as they go along.

      June 11, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • Steve

      Being gay isn't a choice and isn't a sin- acting on it is both, however.

      June 11, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • sam

      Steve, how far do they have to go before it's a sin? What is 'acting' on it? First base, second base, what?

      June 11, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
  7. Dan

    They will do anything to keep the money rolling in.

    June 11, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
  8. faith

    they live to try to shed doubt on christ. never spend a cent on disproving sky fairy

    gee, i wonder y?

    and they fear the delusional, mentally ill, retarded xtards who believe in something that ain't there! makes sense.

    go fight fsm's deluded supporters. u haven't dissuaded any xtards

    June 11, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • Mr. Magoo

      I am sure Christ is pleased with you calling his flock re tards. Good job at proving the point that you people live a hypocritical lifestyle. The computer and the internet was not created by god fearing wimps but by people who thought about the future not a special place put aside just for you and people.

      June 11, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
  9. BO

    That should please the mostly gay liberals.

    June 11, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
  10. bostontola


    June 11, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
  11. Dan

    How is the church going to spin this one?

    June 11, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
  12. Science

    Save Email Print Share

    Martian Clay Contains Chemical Implicated in the Origin of Life,
    June 10, 2013


    Meteorites/stony iron/chondrites (carbon – 14 dust) + WATER = life or green slime all over the place.

    June 11, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • Mr. Magoo

      Faiths ears are bleeding please stop.

      June 11, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • Dan

      Life is pretty easy to create with water at the right temperature. It is all over the universe.

      June 11, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • Steve

      Cool but where did the C-14 come from?

      June 11, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • sam

      Steve, are you familiar with fusion and what happens inside stars?

      June 11, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • Science

      Just a little more for faiths eyes/ears..............took a few minutes had to clean up cookie crumbs.

      Submit your Site to Bing

      Type the URL of your homepageeteorites/stony iron/chondrites (carbon – 14 dust) + WATER = life or green slime all over the place..


      Your request was successfully submitted.

      Bing Webmaster Tools

      June 11, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • Science

      The MATRIX faith........................great mind game..............all between the ears.

      Hey bible thumpers it is all between your ears that red horn-y beast.........look what the little blue box has to offer .too !

      My take: A word to Christians – Be nice – CNN Belief Blog ...


      Feb 09, 2013 · Hey all creationists ... No horn-y red beast needed ... bible thumpers ? Human Y Chromosome Much Older Than Previously Thought.


      Other links there too faith at Bing.

      June 11, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
  13. ron

    There's bound to be lots of other "lobbies" in the Vatican. And some of them might be truly shocking.

    June 11, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
  14. faith

    if u had any way to disprove the content of the new testament u would

    June 11, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • Dan

      Believing something doesn't make it true. Grow up.

      June 11, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • faith

      because u don't, u spend ur lives trying to manufacture anything that might cause someone to doubt

      June 11, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • faith

      notice how the Nazis fear fsm?

      June 11, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • Reason

      So I could sit here and make up all kinds of absurd magical nonsense and told you that you had to disprove it? Does this make any sense to you?

      June 11, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • fred

      If the scientific method is the standard of acceptable evidence atheist have the same amount of evidence for their belief as do Christians.
      We do not make up magic we have testimony from people who have experienced God and power of the Holy Spirit in their lives play out exactly as the New Testament said it would and exactly as Jesus said it would. Now, that is enough proof for anyone that has experienced God and we simply attempt to explain how you too can experience the reality of God in your life.

      June 11, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      fred: A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of knowledge that has been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment.
      The same can't be said for any god. A god can't be tested for and therefore, there is no justified reason for believing in one.

      June 11, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • just me.

      @ Fred-There has been thousands of religions throughout history,and within those,religious people have sworn to have had a personal,spiritual experience with god.None,but yours,believes in Jesus.Are you going to completely disregard their claims?Do you claim the religion you were indoctrinated in to is the truth?If so,why?

      June 11, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'If the scientific method is the standard of acceptable evidence atheist have the same amount of evidence for their belief as do Christians.'

      Not really. You see one attempts to use scientific reason to explain what is around us, the other ultimately relies on the claim that it was magic. The scientific method kind of baulks when it comes to accepting 'magic' as a possible source.

      June 11, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • fred

      Truth Prevails ;-(
      I do not take issue with scientific fact. The problem is your belief is founded on naturalism which does not offer any scientific fact that supports your contention that existence is without purpose. Rational thought and scientific thought to the contrary supports causation. If you are agnostic and simply don't know that is understandable as there is no evidence. If you are an atheist then you are your own worst nightmare given your attacks on Christians.

      June 11, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • fred

      Just me
      Jesus said I am the way and my experience followed that way. That was the path put before me. I am constantly encouraged to stay on the path by answered prayer and continual revelation from God.
      No doubt there are souls throughout this existence that are inclined towards the way without ability or opportunity given to them in Christ. God as revealed through the Bible would not fail in bringing to each of them the opportunity to accept or reject what God has created for them.
      Jesus said my sheep hear my voice and I am certain anyone inclined towards life eternal will hear what is needed.

      June 11, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
    • fred

      cedar rapids
      Even the Bible warns Christians to be aware of anyone using magic. Science is constantly pointing towards something supernatural as causation for existence. It is what you make of the supernatural that is based on reason. The reasons for belief and non belief are many and will support your position. I can show where the latest pre big bang causation (quantum gravitational phase) speculations actually support the position in Genesis or how it proves no god needed as Stephen Hawking reasons based on the same amplitudes given by a no boundary path integral.

      "God said let it be and it was so"..........................if nothing else is more poetic than abstract tensor calculus.

      June 11, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      fred, You have no evidence of a god or that life on earth has a purpose (other than procreation).

      June 11, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
    • fred

      In Santa We Trust
      Correct if you are speaking of evidence acceptable by the scientific community. What I have is a host of reasons to believe in God just as atheists have a host of reasons to believe no god needed.
      One example would be probability study which shows it is mathematically impossible for intelligent life to exist given a 14 billion year time limit. The math is not in dispute which led Stephen Hawking (personally against any notion of god needed) to run with a multiverse theory. Now with an infinite number of possible universes there is a very small mathematical probability of intelligent life to exist. M theory by the way is not proven only speculation at this time.
      Jesus told those demanding proof that all they will receive is the sign of Jonah who was 3 days in the belly of a fish! Sounds to me like both camps base their reasons on something a bit fishy

      June 11, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
    • hawaii guest's substi-tute

      hush with that nonsense, fred.

      June 11, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • fred

      hawaii guest's substi-tute
      Ah, proof that there is God. I was praying for a softer kinder HawaiiGuest.. Hush is an acceptable 4 letter word. Thanks for the kind reminder of our missing comrade.

      June 11, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
  15. Rembrant

    If GoD made everything, didn't God make gay people too? Just what is the big deal here?

    June 11, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • Mr. Magoo

      If you read the bible, the koran, torah, whatever you will see that God is a imbalanced sociopath, murderer. He can't figure out if he loves or hates the human race he created. He always acts surprised that his creation is not doing what he told them to do even though he already knew that.

      June 11, 2013 at 5:24 pm |

      Sure GOD made them, but they choose to be hindu gays, filthy hind lovers by choice, abuse of freedom of choice, Good LORD GOD has nothing to do with their choice in hind ,filth of gay ism, hind love ism.

      June 11, 2013 at 5:25 pm |

      Islam bot symptomatic of unevolved brainisms. Primitive isms.

      June 11, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
  16. Mr. Magoo

    The Vatican AKA: Wonderland Ranch for boys. A place where boys can come and make sure your creativity is completely wiped out then your manhood.

    June 11, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • daphne

      Troll that made no sense. But I'm not surprised

      June 11, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • Mr. Magoo

      @Daphne. I am not tolling, I believe that in a way.

      June 11, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • Mr. Magoo


      June 11, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
  17. Dan

    “If every trace of any single religion were wiped out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.”

    ― Penn Jillette,

    June 11, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • Steve

      That would be true if God weren't real, but whereas God became man as part of his plan to reveal Himself, I've got no reason to believe he wouldn't do it again.

      June 11, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • just me.

      @ Steve.Some plan.He must have really mulled it over before coming up with a plan as perfect as that.The plan your particular religion believes in,is the work of a completely incompetent,bloodthirsty idiot.Which is one of the many reasons I find it most comforting not to believe in it's existence.

      June 11, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
  18. Theseus

    Without quoting the Bible, what reason would anyone have for believing the Bible?

    June 11, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • Dan

      What reason do we have now?

      June 11, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • faith

      in the beginning

      June 11, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • Betty

      For the Christian you are asking too much. For the Christian has to reference and believe Paul's words – that he didn't just hallucinate a "vision" that convinced him to believe the stories that he had already heard of.

      June 11, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • Austin

      Because God interveined with man. becuase God made a blood covenant with Abraham where they walked through a pit with blood, and Abraham had this blood on his feet up to his knees, and then God went through.

      An now the Holy Spirit reveals the truth. The Holy Spirit is a sanctifying spirit that bears the truth supernaturally within mans heart.

      June 11, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • masked

      Its historic accuracy

      June 11, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • Austin

      if you seek the Holy Spirit, you will find Him.

      and then God help us abide in the word.

      cause our flesh cant hang.

      June 11, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      masked: What historical accuracy??

      June 11, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • JJ

      Indoctrination from their parents. That's how 90% of people get infected with the virus.

      June 11, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      John 12:22 "A man appeared on a flaming pie and said, you shall be Beatles!"

      Uh no, wait.........

      June 12, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
  19. Science

    Well it looks like a new party how nanny creationists has this one drawn in ?

    Doogie ?

    June 11, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
  20. tstorm92

    Glad to consider myself an "ex-Catholic"...

    June 11, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
    • Mr. Magoo

      Right on!!!

      June 11, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • Dan

      Great. What is it like to think for yourself now?

      June 11, 2013 at 5:18 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.