Pope Francis has been a completely different leader than his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. While Benedict was a far-right hardliner, Francis has cultivated a more gentle profile, particularly when it comes to LGBTQ people.
While the Pope has wavered between condemning LGBTQ people and saying they should be accepted and loved, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the Holy See’s former ambassador to the United States, has accused Francis of heresy and corruption – and he blames gay priests for their “widespread” influence on the pontiff.
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The existence of a “gay lobby” inside the Vatican has become a popular bogeyman in Catholic circles, with Pope Benedict claiming that destroying it was his biggest accomplishment.
Francis’s record on LGBTQ issues is a mixed bag. He was asked during an interview in 2013 about homosexuality, both inside and outside of the church, and about the rumored “gay lobby.” He answered, “If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?”
Later that year, he lamented that a “gay lobby” was at work at the Vatican in private remarks to the leadership of a key Latin American church group. He was quoted as saying that while there were many holy people in the Vatican, “the ‘gay lobby’ is mentioned, and it is true, it is there. We need to see what we can do.”
Vigano took it a step further, arguing that Francis and high ranking officials in the Vatican are “mercenary infidels who seek to scatter the flock and hand the sheep over to be devoured by ravenous wolves”.
Referring to Pope Francis by his given name – Jorge Mario Bergoglio – instead of his title, Vigano said, “For Bergoglio and his entourage, sodomy is not a sin that cries out for vengeance in the presence of God, as the Catechism teaches.”
“Bergoglio’s words on this topic — and even more the actions and words of those who surround him — unfortunately, confirm that an operation of legalization of homosexuality is currently underway and that prelates and theologians are carrying this discussion forward who have manifested without equivocation that they are unfaithful to Catholic teaching.”
“Let’s not forget that the legitimization of homosexuality is part of the agenda of the New World Order,” he said, “to which the Bergoglian church adheres openly and unconditionally — not only for its destabilizing value in the social body but also because sodomy is the principal instrument with which the Enemy intends to destroy the Catholic priesthood, corrupting the souls of the Ministers of God.”
The Vatican has previously denounced the Archbishop’s claims of corruption and coverups inside the church as “blasphemous” and “monstrous.”