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Pope Benedict’s Resignation Tied To Vatican Gay Sex Blackmail Scandal?

The Guardian passes along a report that Pope Benedict XVI’s historically astounding decision to resign the Papacy may have been tied to an internal Vatican report alleging that certain Priests inside the City-State were being blackmailed due to their homosexuality:

A potentially explosive report has linked the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI to the discovery of a network of gay prelates in the Vatican, some of whom – the report said – were being blackmailed by outsiders.

The pope’s spokesman declined to confirm or deny the report, which was carried by the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica.

The paper said the pope had taken the decision on 17 December that he was going to resign – 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 having stolen and leaked papal correspondence that depicted the Vatican as a seething hotbed of intrigue and infighting.

According to La Repubblica, the dossier comprising “two volumes of almost 300 pages – bound in red” had been consigned to a safe in the papal apartments and would be delivered to the pope’s successor upon his election.

The newspaper said the cardinals described a number of factions, including one whose members were “united by sexual orientation”.

In an apparent quotation from the report, La Repubblica said some Vatican officials had been subject to “external influence” from laymen with whom they had links of a “worldly nature”. The paper said this was a clear reference to blackmail.

It quoted a source “very close to those who wrote [the cardinal's report]” as saying: “Everything revolves around the non-observance of the sixth and seventh commandments.”

The seventh enjoins against theft. The sixth forbids adultery, but is linked in Catholic doctrine to the proscribing of homosexual acts.

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 parlour in the centre, and a former university residence that was in use by a provincial Italian archbishop.

Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said: “Neither the cardinals’ commission nor I will make comments to confirm or deny the things that are said about this matter. Let each one assume his or her own responsibilities. We shall not be following up on the observations that are made about this.”

It’s hard to say that this is the reason the Pope resigned. His poor health in recent years is well documented and, as we’ve learned since he made his announcement, he has suffered from several undisclosed health crises recently, including the fact that he is apparently blind in one eye and losing his hearing. Nonetheless, one can’t help but think that the stress of dealing with these potential scandals, combined with his declining health, played a significant role in his decision to take a step that hasn’t been taken by any Pope since before Europe even knew that the Western Hemisphere even existed.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Dave says:

    Well considering the two most prominent cardinals from the US are both in trouble over hiding sex abuse, this is not a totally unjustified reason for quitting. This is coming from someone who was confirmed by Dolan and realized how evil the church has been since the outbreak of WWII. There are rumors of international arrest warrants being filed against Pope Benedict XVI which would be justified. To quote Dan Savage if this level of child abuse was happening at Denny’s they’d all be closed and people charged. However, this being a “christian” nation we seem to give a pass to people in authority who allow and cover up unspeakable evil. The first amendment shouldn’t cover child rape but unfortunately the law and punishments levied against these criminals seems to disagree.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  2. Argon says:

    Yes well the Vatican seems both more corrupt and banal than depicted in any Dan Brown novel.

    Just an aside: Could the US launch a drone strike on former Cardinal Bernard Law? It would be within the expanded powers of the President, wouldn’t it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  3. Xerxes says:

    Since this is a British newspaper, it means it is likely bullshit

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 14

  4. Sejanus says:

    This whole “Priest can’t marry” is not something practiced by all of the Catholic Church. I know that in some Eastern Catholic Churches (which are in full communion with the Pope) married people can be ordained as priests (though a priest can not get married after ordination). Maybe if the Latin Church (who form the majority of worldwide Catholics and also dominate the Vatican) would have allowed married people to be clergymen we would have not had problems like this. Or better yet, the Catholic Church could “evolve” on gay related issues and allow openly gay men to serve in the clergy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  5. swearyanthony says:

    @Xerxes: original story is from an Italian one. Nice try.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  6. Tony W says:

    Geez, can we just be done with religion already? We have science now….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  7. G.A.Phillips says:

    Geez, can we just be done with religion already? We have science now….

    lol… sigh…

    Atheism is a religion and it is based on faith, a faith that creates fairies and fairy tails!!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9

  8. G.A.Phillips says:

    Someone what to tell the stupid Catholics that they are to get married and be the head of their household before being the head of a church, and that God says that in His book that they never read?

    And that it might help stop some of the gayness that keeps getting them in trouble?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    “Are there gay priests?” is right up there with “Is the Pope Catholic?”, “Does a bear sh!t in the woods? and “Is GA a raving lunatic?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  10. rudderpedals says:

    A gay priest scandal makes tons more sense than suddenly resigning a lifetime appointment while mostly coherent and mobile to a place immune from worldly authorities.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  11. G.A.Phillips says:

    Is GA a raving lunatic? To lib idiots I am…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  12. G.A.Phillips says:

    Just an aside: Could the US launch a drone strike on former Cardinal Bernard Law? It would be within the expanded powers of the President, wouldn’t it?

    How about we drone all the gay dudes that infect the blood supply with Aids? Idiot..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  13. David says:

    @G.A.Phillips: That could possibly be the most ignorant and offensive thing I have seen you put forth, and that is saying a hell of a lot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @G.A.Phillips:

    How about we drone all the gay dudes that infect the blood supply with Aids? Idiot.

    I rest my case.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  15. An Interested Party says:

    I wonder if the conservatives around here are embarassed by G.A.Phillips? After all, he is a shining example of where conservatism seems to be these days…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  16. Mr. Replica says:

    @An Interested Party:

    I wouldn’t call G.A. a conservative. For as long as I have been here he/she has done nothing but troll to get a rise out of someone.

    Tho, these days, the line between troll and conservative is starting to blur. But, I guess when you allow profession trolls like Rush, Hannity, Bill-O, Coulter (people who get paid to act like that) to become the defacto leaders of your political ideology…it shouldn’t come as a surprise. To be considered a real conservative these days you HAVE to purposely go out of your way to stick it to the ebil libruls. Otherwise you are nothing but a RINO, or worse a liberal!

    On topic:

    As far as this whole pedophile fiasco in the church, I will be very surprised if it isn’t all swept under the rug. Maybe a few low level priests will take the fall and serve some time, but i doubt it.
    God forbid anyone higher up and with actual power is held accountable in this day in age.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  17. Mr. Replica says:

    @Mr. Replica:

    day AND age.

    Stupid edit timer running out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. de stijl says:

    @Sejanus:

    Maybe if the Latin Church (who form the majority of worldwide Catholics and also dominate the Vatican) would have allowed married people to be clergymen we would have not had problems like this.

    They did until 1139.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mr. Replica:

    As far as this whole pedophile fiasco in the church,

    I feel the need to point out that this scandal has nothing to do with pedophilia. It is about gay sex between consenting adults at the Vatican. A homosexual person is no more or less likely to engage in pedophilia than a heterosexual.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  20. David says:

    If I remember correctly, back when they did allow married priests, hunting on Sunday was considered a more heinous crime than homosexuality.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. Mr. Replica says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Sorry, got my church scandals mixed up.

    Whoops.

    That’s what I get for starting the post, then walking away from the computer for a bit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. Mr. Replica says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Oh, and just for the record…
    I do not consider homosexuality and pedophilia linked. Nor homosexuality and bestiality.
    It’s not a sin, it’s not a lifestyle choice. Religion is a lifestyle choice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  23. swbarnes2 says:

    The Latin Catholic church has a few married priests. You have to be ordained as a Episcopalian priest, and then if you are married, and you convert to Catholicism, you stay married.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. C. Clavin says:

    A bunch of guys that wear flowing velvet robes and pointy hats are gay? Shocked, I am shocked.

    But this is beautiful…

    “…Someone what to tell the stupid Catholics that they are to get married and be the head of their household before being the head of a church, and that God says that in His book that they never read?
    And that it might help stop some of the gayness that keeps getting them in trouble?…”

    Get married and read the bible…that will keep away the gay!!!
    Truly amazing…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. Xerxes says:

    The newspaper that wrote this is Italy’s version of the National Enquirer. It is a tabloid filled with unannotated stories from has-beens and malcontents looking for sensationalism to sell papers to a gullible people

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. David from KC says:

    @Xerxes: And we know the National Enquirer has never broken a real story… Not saying this is a real story, but dismissing it just because of the source is not always the right way to go.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. An Interested Party says:

    The newspaper that wrote this is Italy’s version of the National Enquirer. It is a tabloid filled with unannotated stories from has-beens and malcontents looking for sensationalism to sell papers to a gullible people

    Even if none of this were true, the Catholic hierarchy has already done more than enough to sully the reputation of the Catholic Church and to show that more than a few of their members are nothing more than the worst hypocritical slime…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  28. Invade the Darkness says:

    The Catholic church is the most evil institution on Earth. It’s all a show. May it crumble.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  29. Rick Almeida says:

    @Invade the Darkness:

    The Catholic church is the most evil institution on Earth.

    Millions of North Koreans might disagree. Let’s have a little perspective.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. James in LA says:

    @Rick Almeida: North Korea has not been in business NEARLY as long, sorry.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. James in LA says:

    @Invade the Darkness: Sued out of existence, more like, ala the KKK by the NAACP et al c.1980. The KKK still exists but their back was broken by lawsuits. This is happening to the RCC. Everywhere there is a diocese there is corruption and cover-up, and when it finally comes out (it always does) the result is bankruptcy. People who pay the tithe now pay only lawyers to defend that which cannot be defended.

    These leaks only confirm what was already known.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. Earl J. says:

    @Tony W: Science without morals leads to man using science without boundaries for his own purposes. Which translates to a Living Hell. So you need both Science and Morals and your existance and its length relies with them both.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  33. Earl J. says:

    @swbarnes2: The very first insurance policies were born out of religion in Scottland. It took care of the wives and children of those clergymen who served for the church. The problem was, that the money invested wasn’t keeping up with what was needed, so to catch up with payments and to be able to afford the pensions and life insurances of the widows and children, they made it an order for new ordained priests not to marry or have children. Since then, its backfired on them. All of the profits are for the church head now since the shares that were invested back then, no longer have to be paid out except to a very few. I Think this was the reason. Not positive, but it seems logical once you trace the money and who benefits from this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0