Pope Benedict XVI may have announced his retirement after a ring of gay priests was discovered in the Vatican, according to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
It all started last May when the Pope’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested for leaking almost 300 pages of papal correspondence that suggested there was trouble in Catholic Paradise—including a faction of priests “united by sexual orientation,” some of whom were being blackmailed.
A commission headed by Cardinal Julián Herranz of Spain was formed to investigate the “Vikileaks” scandal, but its report has not been made public. But according to La Repubblica, a Vatican insider says the report details “the non-observance of the sixth and seventh commandments” (i.e. “Thou Shall Not Steal” and “Thou Shall Not Commit Adultery”).
Even the locations of clandestine trysts were supposedly included in the report. The Guardian reports:
La Repubblica said the cardinals’ report identified a series of meeting places in and around Rome. They included a villa outside the Italian capital, a sauna in a Rome suburb, a beauty parlor in the center, and a former university residence that was in use by a provincial Italian archbishop.
This is hardly the first time rumors of a pink posse in the Vatican have circulated: In 2007 a senior official was suspended after getting caught hitting on a young man. In 2010, a Vatican chorister was dismissed for hiring hustlers—the same year Panorama magazine’s hidden cameras captured priests wearing drag and having sex in bathhouses.
And just last week conspiracy theorists claimed Benedict was resigning because he was about to face criminal charges for protecting child-molester priests.
If this cabal of closeted clerics is real, we’re not sure how Pope Benedict falling on his miter would squelch the scandal. But we don’t pretend to understand the machinations of the Holy See.
In a radio address on Saturday, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said he wouldn’t comment on the allegations, but said they had created “a tension that is the opposite of what the Pope and the church want.”
There is no lack of those who seek to profit from the moment of surprise and disorientation of the spiritually naive to sow confusion and to discredit the Church and its governance, making recourse to old tools, such as gossip, misinformation and sometimes slander, or exercising unacceptable pressures to condition the exercise of the voting duty on the part of one or another member of the College of Cardinals, who they consider to be objectionable for one reason or another.
In the majority of cases, those who present themselves as judges, making heavy moral judgments, do not, in truth, have any authority to do so. Those who consider money, sex and power before all else and are used to reading diverse realities from these perspectives, are unable to see anything else, even in the Church, because they are unable to gaze toward the heights or descend to the depths in order to grasp the spiritual dimensions and reasons of existence. This results in a description of the Church and of many of its members that is profoundly unjust.
So basically shame on everyone for suggesting the Church has done a slew of terrible things—even if it did them.