Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga, the Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, told the Honduran newspaper El Heraldo that a long-rumored “gay lobby” does indeed exist within the Vatican and Pope Francis is attempting to “purify” it, the Catholic News Agency reports:
The Honduran newspaper El Heraldo asked the cardinal whether there actually was an attempted or successful “infiltration of the gay community in the Vatican.”
Cardinal Maradiaga responded: “Not only that, also the Pope said: there was even a ‘lobby’ in this sense.”
“Little by little the Pope is trying to purify it,” he continued. “One can understand them, and there is pastoral legislation to attend to them, but what is wrong cannot be truth.”
The Italian news agency ANSA also reported on the interview.
The interview with Maradiaga also covered same-sex marriage, and the Cardinal said that there is not a chance the Catholic Church will support it:
“No, we must understand that there are things that can be reformed and others cannot,” he said. “The natural law cannot be reformed. We can see how God has designed the human body, the body of the man and the body of a woman to complement each other and transmit life. The contrary is not the plan of creation. There are things that cannot be changed.”
Reports of a “gay lobby” within the Vatican go back to early 2013, when it was reported that Pope Benedict had resigned due to various lobbies within the Vatican, including a gay lobby.
The Vatican denied those reports in a statement that was described as “unusual” at the time:
“It is deplorable that as we draw closer to the time of the beginning of the conclave … that there be a widespread distribution of often unverified, unverifiable or completely false news stories that cause serious damage to persons and institutions.”
In June of 2013, newly-anointed Pope Francis was said to have addressed the existence of a gay lobby in a private meeting with with CLAR (the Latin American and Caribbean Confederation of Religious Men and Women).
“In the Curia, there are truly some saints, but there is also a current of corruption,” he was quoted as saying. “There is talk of a ‘gay lobby’ and it’s true, it exists. We have to see what can be done.”
A month later he denied its existence at the same time he made his famous “who am I to judge” remarks about gays:
“So much is written about the gay lobby. I have yet to find anyone who can give me a Vatican identity card with ‘gay’ [written on it]. They say they are there,” the Pope said.
He said that all lobbies are bad and “the gravest problem for me.” Citing the Catechism’s teaching against marginalizing homosexual persons, he said, “If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, well who am I to judge them?”
A week later, the Italian magazine L’Espresso published an article linking prelate Battista Ricca, who had recently been appointed by the Pope to a vital position with the Vatican bank, to the “gay lobby”. The article reported that Ricca had been involved in numerous relationships with gay men including a Swiss army captain and a young man who some speculated to be a male prostitute.
The magazine reported that the Vatican had no idea of Ricca’s past before his appointment by Francis and that there was an internal bid to protect him and cover it up.
A Vatican spokesperson denied Ricca was a member of the “gay lobby” and called the L’Espresso piece “not credible.”
In January 2014, a former member of the Swiss Guard, which provides the Pope’s security, said he was solicited for sex more than 20 times during his service at the Vatican by cardinals, bishops, priests and other members of the so-called ‘gay lobby’.
The former guard recalled being called in the middle of the night by a senior official who invited him into his room. In another case, he found a bottle of whiskey in his room with a visiting card left by a bishop. A priest, he said, invited him to dinner, saying that the guard would serve afterwards as dessert. He also claimed that a high official fondled him.
The ex-guard said that he reported the cases to his superiors, complaining of harassment, but received no support for his allegations.
The Vatican dismissed the claims, calling them “not credible”.
Shortly thereafter, Archbishop Angelo Becciu, No. 2 in the Vatican’s secretariat of state, urged the guard, Elmar Maeder, to provide names to back his accusations in an interview with Italian paper La Repubblica.
In recent months, Krzysztof Charamsa, the Catholic priest who made international headlines last October after he came out as gay and was subsequently relieved of his position by Pope Francis, told reporters that although me met “isolated” homosexual priests like himself, he had no knowledge of an organized “gay lobby” within the Vatican.
(top photo Mtande wikimedia commons)