Feb 23, 2013 Comments Off Infidel
Excerpted from The Guardian: The Vatican has attacked reports in the Italian media linking Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation to the alleged discovery of a network of gay prelates as attempts to influence the cardinals in their choice of a new pontiff.
The Vatican secretariat of state said in a statement: “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.”
The statement was made as Pope Benedict XVI had his final meeting with senior clerics, lamenting the “evil, suffering and corruption” that have defaced God’s creation in a final address to Vatican officials.
Benedict spoke on Saturday at the end of a week-long spiritual retreat coinciding with Lent, the period of 40 days (excluding Sundays) leading up to Easter. For the past week, Italian cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi has led the Vatican on meditations that have covered everything from the family to denouncing the “divisions, dissent, careerism, jealousies” that afflict the Vatican bureaucracy.
Ravasi’s blunt critique of the dysfunction within the Vatican Curia comes as cardinals from around the world are arriving for the final days of Benedict’s papacy and the conclave to elect his successor. Bureaucratic reform is a high priority for the next pope.
The pontiff’s speech follows a report that has linked his resignation to the discovery of a network of gay prelates in the Vatican, some of whom have reportedly been targeted by blackmailers.
The Italian daily newspaper La Republica said the pope decided to resign on 17 December – the day he received a dossier compiled by three cardinals delegated to look into the so-called “Vatileaks” affair.
Last May Pope Benedict’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested and charged with stealing leaked papal correspondence that depicted the Vatican as a seething hotbed of intrigue and infighting.
The newspaper said the cardinals described a number of factions, including one whose members were “united by sexual orientation”. It added that some Vatican officials had been subjected to “external influence” from laymen with whom they had links of a “worldly nature”. La Republica said this was a clear reference to blackmail.