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In memoirs, ex-Pope Benedict says Vatican ‘gay lobby’ wielded power

Pope Francis, left, meets Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI before opening the Holy Door to mark the opening of the Catholic Holy Year, or Jubilee, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on Dec. 8, 2015. Photo by Max Rossi/Reuters
Pope Francis, left, meets Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI before opening the Holy Door to mark the opening of the Catholic Holy Year, or Jubilee, in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, on Dec. 8, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Max Rossi *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-TWO-POPES, originally transmitted on June 28, 2016.

Pope Francis, left, meets Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI before opening the Holy Door to mark the opening of the Catholic Holy Year, or Jubilee, in St. Peter’s Basilica, at the Vatican, on Dec. 8, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Max Rossi *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-TWO-POPES, originally transmitted on June 28, 2016.

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) Former Pope Benedict says in his memoirs that no-one pressured him to resign but alleges that a “gay lobby” in the Vatican had tried to influence decisions, a leading Italian newspaper reported.

The book, called “The Last Conversations,” is the first time in history that a former pope judges his own pontificate after it is over. It is due to be published on Sept. 9.

Citing health reasons, the German-born Benedict in 2013 became the first pope in six centuries to resign. He promised to remain “hidden to the world” and has been living in a former convent in the Vatican gardens.

Italy’s Corriere della Sera daily, which has acquired the Italian newspaper rights for excerpts and has access to the book, ran a long article on Friday (July 1) summarizing its key points.

In the book, Benedict says that he came to know of the presence of a “gay lobby” made up of four or five people who were seeking to influence Vatican decisions. The article says Benedict says he managed to “break up this power group.”

Benedict resigned following a turbulent papacy that included the so-call “Vatileaks” case, in which his butler leaked some of his personal letters and other documents that alleged corruption and a power struggle in the Vatican.


READ: Two popes share a Vatican stage and show only one is in charge


Italian media at the time reported that a faction of prelates who wanted to discredit Benedict and pressure him to resign was behind the leaks.

The church has maintained its centuries-long opposition to homosexual acts.

But rights campaigners have long said many gay people work for the Vatican and church sources have said they suspect that some have banded together to support each other’s careers and influence decisions in the bureaucracy.

Benedict, who now has the title “emeritus pope,” has always maintained that he made his choice to leave freely and Corriere says that in the book Benedict “again denies blackmail or pressure”.

He says he told only a few people close to him of his intention to resign, fearing it would be leaked before he made the surprise announcement on Feb. 11, 2013.

The former pope, in the book-long interview with German writer Peter Seewald, says he had to overcome his own doubts on the effect his choice could have on the future of the papacy.

He says that he was “incredulous” when cardinals meeting in a secret conclave chose him to succeed the late Pope John Paul II in 2005 and that he was “surprised” when the cardinals chose Francis as his successor in 2013.

Anger over the dysfunctional state of the Vatican bureaucracy in 2013 was one factor in the cardinal electors’ decision to choose a non-European pope for the first time in nearly 1,300 years.

Benedict “admits his lack of resoluteness in governing,” Corriere says.

In the book, whose lead publisher is Germany’s Droemer Knaur, Benedict says he kept a diary throughout his papacy but will destroy it, even though he realizes that for historians it would be a “golden opportunity.”

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Philip Pullella

30 Comments

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  • So the gay lobby in the church is more powerful than the pope?

    Silly, silly. Silly.

    A gay lobby in the church. Who knew? One cannot be a priest without a vocation, a literal calling from God, which is a gift from God. The church has its means to determine who has a true vocation and who does not. But somehow those all powerful gays, more powerful than God, more learned than the entire magisterium, and sneakier than “the devil and his angels, too” took over the church.

    We made the church molest all of those kids, and we made the church cover it up, and then we made the Minneapolis dioscese hide some millions to prevent payouts to victims of abuse. We also made the church oppose birth control, because we love seeing starving kids and the Zika injured. There is just no end to our perfidy, our power, and our influence.

    Be afraid. Be very afraid. We’ll get you, my pretty, and your little pope, too.

  • It always surprises me that such a small minority of people wield so much power and authority. Heterosexuals, by extension, are the weakest beings on earth. It’s truly amazing there are any left. Then, of course, there’s the truth. But we only give lip service to it.

  • Don’t forget about how powerless, poor, and persecuted Christians are, even with jesus at their backs.

  • Finally, the REAL truth comes out. No more hiding the stinky mess.

    Kudos to Pope Benedict for being true and honest. That was a very courageous move, although it’s now clear that what he called “this (gay) power group” likely extends further than merely four or five Vatican jokers.

    Obama would never allow it, but a good old-fashioned cloak-&-dagger CIA investigation, would probably turn up some VERY INTERESTING back-room games related to the Conclave Of Cardinals that elected Pope Francis in 2013. Dollars to doughnuts, mama !!

    Anyway, don’t be too hard on yourself, Mr. Pope Benedict. You had enough guts to tell the TRUTH. That’s real papal leadership right there. Stay strong dude.

  • The CIA gathers intelligence on matters related to the national interests of the United States. What’s that got to do with the conclave that elected Francis?

  • We gay people control the CIA and the US government. We are the horny illuminati of the 21st century. We WILL re-decorate your apartment, and there is nothing you can do to stop us.

  • Power is as power does. The mess in the Vatican bureaucracy was caused by a curia out of control ie too big, too central and acting as the Roman Catholic Inc. Pope Francis has said this in so many words. Gays in the Vatican? Yes! Gays are not the problem the curia is!

  • Simple: If you’re going to crack the Vatican and get some truth on the table (which millions of American Catholics would need to know for THEIR particular “national security”), then you need some spies who really know how to take care of the Spyin’s.

    So it’s either gonna be CIA or Mossad, take your pick dude! CIA’s cheaper, though!

  • Well, if that’s the case, we may have to go with Putin and his KGB boys! Any port in a storm, they say!!

  • The religious issues of American Catholics are personal to them and do not impact the national security of the US. And Mossad couldn’t care less. There are plenty of private espionage firms willing to do this kind of work, though, for the right price.

  • And just 4 or 5 of us insidious ubermenschen were able to wreak so much havoc on the wily old tart.

    and no, I’m not referring to Benedict.

  • The Vatcan’s “gay lobby” is four or five people. As opposed to the rest of the Vatican staff, which, though also gay, are so deeply closeted and full of hate that they’d cut their own throats rather than tell the truth about themselves–or try to change things for the better for gay people in the church. So very sad on every level.

  • On his old radio show, Al Franken used to quip, “What’s the gay agenda? to give everybody a well-decorated apartment and a great haircut?”

  • Do you mind if we take up a collection for your flight and immigration costs to the Conclave of Conservative Christian Paradise (CCCP for short) you call Russia?

  • A former Hitler Youth like Benedict knows all about claiming conspiracies are being performed by small relatively powerless groups.

  • So the ex-pope tries to blame the incompetence and corruption that led to his “voluntary” firing on gay people and admits to an anti-gay witch hunt as one of the reasons he was so corrupt and incompetent as pope. Nice. It just makes it look all the better that he “stepped down.”

  • if only that was true. It would make Dan Brown novels a lot more fun than they already are.

  • A gay lobby of four or five people. It sounds like four or five people who saw the injustices that people have, and was possibly lobbying for a different perception than the Pope has. One of if your gay you don’t “count.”

  • Gay lobbyists have much gained grounds so much so that they now rule the world! This groups have influences that touches from economy, politics, faith matters, educational to even science. They have persuaded the world to see that theirs is the best way to go. For the 4-5 member in the Vatican to have the influence of letting Benedict to resig shows that the gays are gradually conquering the world and fast for that matter.
    Thank you Benedict for speaking the truth about the formidable Gay lobby in the Vatican who are corrupting the world instead of preaching the true gospel.

  • Can the Vatican authority release the names of the “gay lobby ” made up of four or five guys who have become so powerful as to influence the resignation of pope Benedict and saw to the installation of liberal pope Francis. As a Catholic, and indeed all catholics all over the world, we deserve to know the pope’s advisers and the roles they play in shaping and directing the church.

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