February 27, 2017

February 22, 2013

Paper: Papal resignation linked to inquiry into ‘Vatican gay officials’

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.

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Oh, another “explosive insider story” into “Vatican secrets and scandals”?  Colour me surprised!

I have no idea if there is a shred of evidence to any of these breathless suppositions.  That there is financial chicanery of some sort going on, I would not be surprised at all - this is Italy (apologies to all those of Italian ancestry whom I have just offended).  That there are clergy who are breaking their vows is not a new thing, either: it’s been going on as long as there have been clergy taking vows.  Even a gay-sex scandal would not make me drop my teacup.

But this kind of story only demonstrates even more clearly the lesson Pope Benedict is teaching, with his humble decision to lay down a burden he can no longer carry.  The world does not understand the voluntary surrender of power, so it scrambles about looking for the “real” reason why this should happen: there must be some explosive secret, some scandal, some dirty linen that is about to be washed in public, and that’s why this is happening now!  No politician would step down unless they were likely to be forced out of office, so that must be what is going on here.  The Papacy is not a political office (any more, regardless of what it may have been six centuries ago).

Humility may be the most misunderstood and least practiced of the virtues today.

[1] Posted by Martha on 2-22-2013 at 03:15 PM · [top]

As with every other example of what now passes for journalism in the 21st century, the making of the allegation itself will cause many to believe the truth of it, without any opportunity for the Vatican to defend itself. In fact, any defense the Vatican mounts will be viewed as further proof of the veracity of the allegations.

[2] Posted by sophy0075 on 2-22-2013 at 03:34 PM · [top]

I always greet reports like this with a combination of hope and resignation.  One’s hope that reports of some great scandal are unfounded always has to be tempered with the plain fact that the clergy does not constitute some sort of angelic order, and, under the regime of original sin, priests are just as subject—perhaps more subject—to wrongdoing as laity.

Most of the clergy I have known have been admirable individuals, hard-working and decent pastors.  That said, it is important to keep from falling into the trap of having one’s faith contingent on the virtue of the clergy.  Our faith is in God, not in the pope or the bishop or the good father.  As Catholics we place rather more weight on the teaching authority of the Church than Protestants, but, as Cardinal Newman rather delicately put it, to be infallible has nothing to do with being impeccable.

This point has been rather driven home for me by some recent reading.  Last year I read a biography of Lorenzo de Medici, and last fall I thought I’d read a tract in German that I read many years ago in English, Luther’s An den christlichen Adel.  My committment to the Catholic side of the Reformation debates cannot obscure the almost unbelievable corruption of the papacy under the Borgia and Medici popes, and, though a part of me is newly appalled (and one need not agree with Luther to sympathize with his polemic), another part is rather encouraged that so many could make that distinction between the the truths of the faith and the failings of those whose calling it was to proclaim them and pass them on.

Only time will tell if we have another great and painful scandal on our hands.  The more important point, I suppose, is that, in the world in which the Church began, these kind of activities would have been business as usual.  If we are outraged by these kinds of things in the Church, were, exactly does that outrage come from?  And how does its happening mean that God is any less God, and the good news any less good news?

[3] Posted by rick allen on 2-22-2013 at 04:32 PM · [top]

The rumors of a “pink mafia” inside the Vatican have been around for years and it probably has some truth behind it.  If it does go as high as rumored here, it might mean that Benedict might want a more vigorous hand to push the broom.  Either way, how would anyone other than veteran Vatican watchers even know when someone is being pushed aside.

[4] Posted by Bill2 on 2-22-2013 at 05:26 PM · [top]

Yesterday, the breathless claim was that the pope is actually very ill and that’s the REAL reason he reasoned.  Of course, this and that, and several other shocking revelations all may be true. 

In the meantime, it’s Renaissance Redux: enjoy it while you can. Papal resignations don’t happen every century.

[5] Posted by Words Matter on 2-22-2013 at 05:55 PM · [top]

Why would it surprise anyone even if it were true.  Human beings - frail and sinful ever since “the fall”.

Prayers for wisdom and the hand of God in the coming deliberations for a capable successor.

[6] Posted by midwestnorwegian on 2-23-2013 at 07:32 AM · [top]

The Grauniad weighs in. In other news, the sun rose in the East. Video at 11.

[7] Posted by Creedal Episcopalian on 2-23-2013 at 07:38 AM · [top]

Vatican Insider is reporting that the “Vatileaks” report will be given, not to the new pope after election, but to the entire college of cardinals on March 1.  Perhaps Benedict wishes to be sure the college knows the shape of the problem and who might have been involved before they vote.

I agree with Bill2.  This faithful servant of God wants more vigorous hands to push the broom.

[8] Posted by Katherine on 2-23-2013 at 08:04 AM · [top]

“... the Vatican as a seething hotbed of intrigue and infighting.”

This is news? ROTFL

[9] Posted by The Little Myrmidon on 2-23-2013 at 10:37 AM · [top]

I agree with Bill2 and Katherine. If this is true, and I think it may well be, then it makes sense that Benedict would want a younger, stronger, man to clean house. This requires courage, will, faith, strength of mind and body.
I think that if it were not true, Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, would just have denied it. What purpose would there be in not doing so? But he would neither “confirm nor deny.” That seems to me to indicate it’s true. And the only thing that surprises me is the scope of the rot, not the existence of it. The Church is going to have to do some major housecleaning.
I also think that the state of affairs in Rome, as well as in TEC and in a number of other churches, is evidence of Satan at work in the world, attempting to destroy the Church of Christ.

[10] Posted by Nellie on 2-23-2013 at 11:09 AM · [top]

I looked at the Vatican Insider article cited by Katherine, and was struck by these chilling words of the Holy Father on October 11, 50 years after hearing an address by John XXIII: “...we have learned and experienced how original sin exists and is translated, ever and anew, into individual sins which can also become structures of sin. We have seen how weeds are also always present in the field of the Lord. We have seen how Peter’s net also brings in bad fish. We have seen how human fragility is also present in the Church, how the ship of the Church is also sailing against a counter wind and is threatened by storms; and at times we have thought that the Lord is sleeping and has forgotten us.” These are scary words, comming from the Pope - “at times we have thought the Kord is sleeping and has forgotten us.”

[11] Posted by Nellie on 2-23-2013 at 11:19 AM · [top]

Well, there does seem to be some kind of ugliness in this report.  Whether it’s a “gay sex” ugliness remains to be seen.  A refusal to confirm or deny every rumor should not be taken to endorse the rumors.  There are other kinds of scandals, after all.

[12] Posted by Katherine on 2-23-2013 at 12:42 PM · [top]

This may be the report (by a conservative Polish cleric) about ‘gay networks’ operating in the church hierarchy to which the Guardian article refers:  http://www.churchmilitant.tv/documents/vort-2013-02-22.pdf

It’s a courageous statement in light of the dangerous situation in Poland (as the reader of the article will learn) and one that praises Pope Benedict’s efforts to stand against the ‘gays’ and those who deny Scripture, science, reality in order to promote, propagandize, normalize and engage in the lifestyle.

[13] Posted by St. Nikao on 2-23-2013 at 12:54 PM · [top]

Rick Allen: “Only time will tell if we have another great and painful scandal on our hands.”

Don’t need much time, just do a search and read the reports of abuse from Alaska to Ireland, from California to New Mexico to New Hampshire and homosexual activity among priests from Florida to Mexico to Nova Scotia to Rome. 

There is definitely a scandal, one that involves both the priesthood and the liberal left.
The liberals advocate for homosexual, female and trangender priests, for same-sex marriages and deny the truth of the Scriptures in regard to sexuality and sin.

Even most sexual abuse victim advocacy groups only believe it is wrong for a boy to engage with a priest in homosexual acts the day before his birthday whatever the age of consent in that state, but it is permissible the day after his age-of-consent birthday.  That is also a scandal and a tragedy.

[14] Posted by St. Nikao on 2-23-2013 at 01:10 PM · [top]

RE: “a network of gay prelates in the Vatican” . . .

I had always assumed that this was so.  I don’t see how it’s explosive, although of course, church discipline should be enacted.

Hopefully that will occur—glad to see that the report is being provided to the entire College of Cardinals.

[15] Posted by Sarah on 2-24-2013 at 11:42 AM · [top]

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