Ex-Pope Benedict: Vatican ‘gay lobby’ tried to wield power

Pope Benedict

Pope Benedict performing a blessing during the canonization mass in St. Peter's Square in Rome, Italy on Sunday October 12, 2008. CC 3.0

Former Pope Benedict claims the Vatican not only had a “gay lobby” but that it tried to influence his decisions.

The claim appears in his forthcoming memoir, “The Last Conversations,” according to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, which has acquired rights to publishing excerpts of the book. They published an article on Friday highlighting its key points, Reuters reports.

Benedict claims the “gay lobby” was made up of four or five people and that he was able to “break up this power group.”

He insists he was not forced out due to “blackmail or pressure,” but that his resignation in 2013 was his own freely made decision.

“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,” Reuters notes. “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.”

They also report that he was “incredulous” when he was chosen to succeed the late Pope John Paul II in 2005 and “surprised” when Pope Francis was chosen as his successor.

During a 2012 Christmas speech Benedict said that “sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves. According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God. This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed.”

Prior to becoming Pope, during his time as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Benedict approved CDF documents declaring that homosexual “inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.” The document went on to state that sexual orientation was not equivalent to race or ethnicity and that therefore it was “not unjust discrimination to take sexual orientation into account.”

Pope Francis has widely been seen as holding more favorable views toward homosexuality than did his predecessor.

Francis was asked during an interview in 2013 about homosexuality, both inside and outside of the church, and about the rumored “gay lobby.” He famously answered, “If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?”

More recently, he said the Catholic Church should apologize to gay people.

He opposes same-sex marriage, however, and in 2015 said that “the family is threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage” and that it “disfigures God’s plan for creation.”

Benedict’s book “The Last Conversations” is due to be published Sept. 9.

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