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Pope Francis and the Vatican's 'Gay Lobby'
The pontiff wasn't referring to sex and blackmail, but a subculture of corruption within the Holy See.
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It is being reported that Pope Francis recently told an audience of South American prelates that there is indeed a “gay lobby” in the Vatican. The pronouncement, if that’s what it actually was, is predictably being interpreted in various ways. Some see the statement as a long overdue admission of a fact that has always been ignored but is hardly a secret based on revelations regarding priestly conduct that have flooded the media over the past two decades. Following the lead of the Italian media, there has also been considerable speculation that homosexuals in the Vatican might well have been subject to blackmail, prompting the pope’s concern because of possible linkages to the recent Vatileaks exposure of confidential curial and papal documents.

Some media accounts also recall the speculation centering on the premature resignation of Pope Benedict XVI that circulated when he stepped down in February suggesting that there might well be some kind power struggle fueled by leaks of information initiated by well-placed homosexuals, forcing the pontiff to resign rather that confront a new scandal that would do more damage to an already reeling church. The Italian iconoclastic newspaper La Repubblica—and also Panorama magazine, which was famously involved in the Niger uranium story—claimed that high-level clergy “united by sexual orientation” were being blackmailed by outsiders linked to them.

It is my belief that, far from speculating, Pope Francis was being precise in his comment. He referred to a homosexual lobby, speaking in Spanish but using the English words “lobby gay,” as Italian and Spanish speakers frequently do, with precisely the same meaning as for English speakers. So he was not commenting on homosexuals in the Vatican in general sociological terms, nor was he necessarily referring to blackmail. He was speaking of a politically organized and disciplined interest group, and it should be noted that the comment came immediately after remarks about the pervasiveness of malfeasance within the Holy See, a phenomenon that he described as a “stream of corruption.”

I have some additional evidence to back up the interpretation that Francis was speaking about what might be referred to as an “integral part of the Vatican power structure.” There have been a number of homosexual scandals at the Vatican over the past 20 years, but only one involved a senior official close to the pope. That occurred in 1998, when the newly appointed Commander of the Swiss Guards, Alois Estermann, died together with his wife and one of his own guardsmen. It was undeniably a murder-suicide, though there have been books written about who actually killed whom first and what the motive might have been. Most investigators have concluded that Estermann was an active and promiscuous bisexual who regularly had relations with his young guardsmen.

The Vatican police report was essentially a whitewash, concluding officially that Estermann and his wife had been killed by a guardsman who had been passed over for promotion. But papal security officials became concerned about possible broader ramifications of the incident, immediately launching a secret investigation into homosexual activity among both clerics and lay officials living and working in Vatican City. Preliminary inquiries determined that there existed what appeared to be a large and well organized group of homosexuals who networked and cooperated by sharing information and taking action to advance certain agendas. Ironically, it did not appear that the group was involved in addressing or influencing obvious political or moral themes such as the church’s actual position on homosexuality. Rather the “lobby” was involved in widespread corruption, sometimes cooperating with Italian criminal figures to exploit Vatican diplomatic privileges, customs immunity, money laundering opportunities through the Institute for Religious Works Bank, and other opportunities to profit.

Pope John Paul II ordered his security team to intensify the investigative process, to include naming names involved in the homosexual activity, assessing their vulnerability to blackmail, and determining what sorts of documents and Vatican facilities they might have access to. A major European corporation, which was run by a Catholic family known to the pope, was approached to obtain an outside investigative resource, as the Estermann case had revealed that the pope’s guards might themselves be corrupted and part of the conspiracy. The corporation in turn contacted several former Central Intelligence Agency officers who had worked in Rome for advice and paid for the secret travel of a senior papal security official to the United States for a meeting.

The official presented the tentative conclusion that what he referred to as a “cabal” consisting of homosexuals was operating in the Vatican and engaged in numerous criminal acts that were damaging to the papacy as an institution and threatening the credibility of the pope himself. He explained that as in any large organization, the pope was a chief executive who frequently relied on subordinates for an array of options regarding potential policies. If the process for determining those options were corrupted by damaging leaks and other clandestine activities connected to criminal interests, the result would inevitably be bad.

The official asked for advice regarding what might be done to set up a clandestine intelligence-type operation to find out who was involved and what might be behind the apparent criminal connections, assistance that the CIA officers subsequently provided.

There is, of course, no way for outsiders to determine if the Vatican’s initial assessment regarding a gay status in statu was correct, but it appears to have been corroborated in a secret report given to Benedict XVI shortly before he made his decision to step down. The Roman Catholic Church’s position on homosexuality is somewhat ambiguous, condemning the act as a sin, i.e. “adultery,” while at the same time often turning a blind eye regarding it among the priesthood. Any American Catholic official well placed enough to know the facts would quite likely admit that there have been seminaries in the U.S. that were largely run by homosexuals and which were networked with the broader gay community to attract novitiates. Pope Benedict’s own policy towards gay priests was that any actively homosexual man would be barred from the priesthood, though past transgressions might well de facto be ignored.

What is most interesting is that the current pope would refer to homosexuals in the Vatican as a political entity—a lobby, presumably one that is organized to advance its own sometimes narrowly perceived interests. Commentators have already noted that it is unlikely that the mild-mannered and thoughtful Pope Francis will initiate some kind of witch hunt directed against gays, but the sad tale of Vatican corruption is certainly on his agenda, and the two issues might well be inextricably linked.

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.

(Republished from The American Conservative by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Catholic Church, Gays/Lesbians 
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  1. I think that the slang “Lavender Mafia” is a more accurate term. It is estimated that up to 50% of Catholic clergy are gay. Why? Because it is a lot easier to tell your family that your becoming a priest than it is to tell them you’re gay.

    The problem with closeted gays is that they form an underground subculture that seeks to protect itself. The small minority who are pedophiles are able to manipulate and blackmail the others.

    As we saw with the CIA the best solution to this problem is allow gays to come out of the closet. Just like hetro priest, some will be abstinent and some will not. You don’t have to be a saint to be a priest, but you do have to report criminal activity.

  2. “presumably one that is organized to advance its own sometimes narrowly perceived interests.”

    Ohhh this sounds icky. Look, I may disagree on some crucial matters of faith and practice but this is clear: homosexulity is incompatible with the faith and practice of Catholicism — no matter how you slice it or which way you turn. Nor permitted, verbotten and rightfully so.

    There is no narrow interest. There is no room for the practice and any Catholic advocating such a practice — well there is but one one choice — excommunication — period.

    I understand that runs against the grain of the emotional plea by homosexuals — but that is the case.

  3. “The problem with closeted gays is that they form an underground subculture that seeks to protect itself. The small minority who are pedophiles are able to manipulate and blackmail the others.”

    The problem is you cannot be a homosexual and be a practicing Catholic until the Church changes its theology and to do so would send the entire instittion against the a primary tenet of faith — regardless of which denomination — the church will split, if not dissintergrate.

  4. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Just letting gay intel officers come out of the closet doesn’t eliminate their vulnerability to blackmail, because most openly gay men are extremely promiscuous, and promiscuity itself, whether gay or straight, is a source of vulnerability.

    As for priests, the only safe course is to not ordain men who are sexually attracted to other men. Priests should be spiritually healthy males, and same-sex attraction is not a sign of spiritual health.

  5. This is an extremely interesting and timely piece. The story, and I believe is it the correct version of events, differs markedly from what’s in the MSM.

  6. If Pope Francis does nothing else in his tenure, allowing married priests would go a long way to cleaning up the church. How else can you deal with this situation unless you undercut the power of the conspirators’ blackmail, and that’s by opening up the priesthood to married men? I’m not going to say it is a silver bullet but it would go a long way to dealing with this problem.

  7. Elite,

    Would you say you can’t be sinner and be Catholic?

    Just curious.

  8. @EliteCommInc.

    “…homosexulity is incompatible with the faith and practice of Catholicism — no matter how you slice it or which way you turn. Nor permitted, verbotten and rightfully so.”

    You are proposing to empty the halls of Congress and many state legislatures. Not that that is a bad thing…

  9. Despite your protestations, the fact is that the contemporary Catholic Church has become a haven for gay men. You cannot just conduct some of kind of purge of almost half the clergy and you cannot allow it to operate as a shadow Curia.

    Ironically, in Latin America, where the Pope comes from, there appear to be more hetro priests. Why? Because they have de facto wives.

    The reason the Pope calls it the “gay lobby” may be because his only experience with gays is opposing gay rights issues in Argentina. He may not be aware of the extent of gayness in the Church throughout much of the rest of the world.

  10. FWIW, there are plenty of priests who are openly gay by orientation (and who claim to be celibate).

    I’m not a Roman Catholic, so I won’t get into any arguments over what the Church should do here–this is an ecclesiastic matter, not a civil one.

  11. Thanks for these background insights. Press attempts to turn the perpetrators into victims by suggesting blackmail, ring hollow.

    The damage done by homosexuals to the Catholic Church is immense. I’ve encountered a few such cabals in government and they are never benign. They always have an undertone of outwardly directed malice. They also tend toward dysfunction, placing the interests of members over performance.

    The church Isn’t the only organization in need of a purge.

  12. “You are proposing to empty the halls of Congress and many state legislatures. Not that that is a bad thing…’

    Very very Funny!

  13. “Despite your protestations, the fact is that the contemporary Catholic Church has become a haven for gay men. You cannot just conduct some of kind of purge of almost half the clergy and you cannot allow it to operate as a shadow Curia. ”

    Hmmm . . . if I were Pope. I could, and I would. I love you. I appreciate your desire to serve our Lord. Certainly commendable. But as we follow the teaching of Christ, his apostles and all that went before, we cannot allow those who engage in deliberate behavior forbidden by Christ to serve.

    If you are wrestling with your behavior as sin acknowledging such behavior is forbidden — there are ways to seve — because as Paul himself states, such is given that we remain humble – I am paraphrasing.

    But understand this, our Gospel is that of christ and while forgiving he is the fulfillment of the law and such he indwells the law in us —

    so to that end, and in a spirirt of loe and grace. within the next six months, all of those who are so engaged should prepare for service elsewhere. and those who have supported this practice . . . unless you repent and cease. You are will all compssion and grace invited to leave or should it be neccessary — in love and grace — we will show you the door.

    In Christ . . . . Pope yad yada yada . . . . your brother and servant in christ.

    but as I am not the Pope — and given what has been happening over the last fifty years —- more liberal heads – sadly will prevail and the Catholic Church will continue to throw her integrity overboard. I could defend the Chruch over the sex scandal as not much of a scandal and proprtionately –rare and not pervasive — But actions in com-lete contradiction to Christ , faith and practice as Christians — Nope.

  14. “Would you say you can’t be sinner and be Catholic?”

    I could not willfully and without repentence engage in sinful behavior and be a Catholic — no, one cannot.

  15. @Meehan

    “The damage done by homosexuals to the Catholic Church is immense. I’ve encountered a few such cabals in government and they are never benign.”

    Reminds me the DA’s office in Kern County, CA.

    Google “The Lords of Bakersfield.”

  16. If the Catholic Church would just allow divorced Lesbian priests to marry, all of it’s media problems would disappear.

    *poof*

  17. Bernie says:

    Michael Moore, you state that it is estimated that up to 50% of Catholic clergy are gay. Could you please share the data/studies on which you base your statement? Thanks.

  18. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    It seems that the “Fruits” emanating from Vatican II
    are never ending!

    Hopefully, we may witness a Vatican IIi to restore
    the Church to the Faith!

  19. quaker78 says:

    Is it ok if I apply to Harvard as homosexual even while being attracted only to females Wet One? I’d hate to lose out on the leg up just because you know I’m not gay.

  20. The 50% gay figure comes from “The Changing Face of Priesthood” by Father Donald Cozzens, the rector of St. Mary’s Seminary in Cleveland.

    There are other estimates of 30 to 50 percent.

  21. Bernie says:

    Michael Moore, you reply that the 50% gay figure among the priesthood comes from a book by Father Donald Cozzens. Is that his subjective opinion, or did he cite objective data and studies on which he based it? If so, what are they?

    I ask because: 1) I find it an incredible claim, 2) I found Internet sites varyingly WILDLY in these projected percentages, and, 3) because you have made pejorative comments about the Catholic Church in threads for The American Conservative, including two comments for this post within the first nine comments here. That is your right, of course. If I am incorrect about this, please correct me.

  22. Colm J says:

    All this talk about allowing priests to marry is a red herring. The London Times reported in the 1990s that rates of AIDs were much higher among Anglican clergy than among Catholics – and that was well before the Anglicans liberalised their stance on gay clergy. Likewise clerical paedophilia is a problem in all religious denominations, but the media choose to studiously ignore all cases outside the Catholic Church, presumably in furtherance of their vendetta against the Church. Unfortunately many supposedly hardcore traditional Catholics have tacitly endorsed this vendetta, apparently labouring under the extraordinary delusion that the rabidly anti-Catholic media can somehow be allies in “cleaning out the Church”. Some chance. A blackmailed network of gays is by far the most plausible explanation for the de facto ban on admitting orthodox candidates to seminaries, and the widespread tolerance of modernist dissent and disobedience. The idea that the media could ever be allies in exposing this network is the most pitiful wishful thinking imaginable – as almost all mainstream media outlets of both right and left are in the same ideological camp as the blackmailers.

  23. johan says:

    Any church that dresses its male pastors in pretty robes and hats is bound to attract … a certain demographic. Want to change the leadership demographic? Try the low-church Protestant style where the preachers dress in street clothes, and see what happens.

  24. Bernie,

    Buy the book. I am not your research assistant.

  25. That a “Gay Lobby” exists in the Catholic Church is an understatement. It’s pretty much of an open secret. I would estimate that at least half of Catholic priests are Gay, and this stems from pre-Stonewall era thinking. If you were a Straight (i.e. heterosexual) Catholic man, you found yourself a nice Catholic girl to marry, you had lots of kids and lived happily ever after. If you were a Gay Catholic man, you became a priest. After all, it offset all kinds of prying questions like, “Why don’t you have a girlfriend yet?”

    And for Gay priests, what wasn’t to like? You got to hang out with a lot of other like-minded men, discussing weighty theological issues… and between the hymns and bells and incense and FABULOUS robes, it was just a step away from musical theatre!

  26. Bernie says:

    Michael Moore,

    Msgr. Earl Boyea wrote a review in 2001 of Fr. Cozzens’ book in which it is claimed that 50% of Catholic priests and seminarians are homosexually oriented. The Msgr. stated that Fr. Cozzens’ claims are unsupported and irresponsible.

    When he wrote the review Msrg. Boyea had 14 years of seminary work and was Rector of the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio. The article can be read at the following site:
    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/01/another-face-of-the-priesthood-36

    Read especially the three paragraphs which immediately preceed the last two paragraphs for an explanation of why Fr. Cozzens’ conclusion of the degree of homosexuality in the priesthood is called unsupported and irresponsible by Msgr. Boyea.

  27. Bernie said I made pejorative comments about the Catholic Church. The Pope brought up this subject, not me. Apparently some people are more Catholic than the Pope.

    I am a cradle Catholic and I generally support Catholic values and appreciate Catholic churches and liturgy. I think that the Church has made itself a ripe target for the forces of commerical nihilism and scientism, but that is their problem.

    I have nothing against gay people. I think they should be allowed to express their affections and have civil marriages. However, being a member of a discrimated minority does not entitle you to impunity. In America, we all know how to play our various cards.

  28. I watched the pedophilia scandal come to fruition in Boston. The Church practically gave away the store. All you had to do was show up with minimal evidence and a press clip and you got a settlement. Every broke lawyer and their con artist clients were getting in on the act. This indicates to me that the people making the decisions were protecting their own secrets.

    The Pope’s decorus phrase”Gay Lobby” does not describe the problem. The slang “Lavender Mafia” does.

    Good luck to the Pope. He will need it.

  29. Its somewhat irrelevant how many gay priests they are, as long as they’re committed to celibacy as much as the straight priests are.

    As for the issue of not keeping celibacy, and opening oneself to blackmail… well keeping celibacy is really not entirely different from keeping fidelity in marriage and not committing adultery. Both are commitments, and breaking either commitment can lead to a situation where the priest can be blackmailed.

    People who aren’t celibate make it sound like its more difficult than it is. ie “you need to be really strong.” No you don’t; it really isn’t hard at all.

  30. “If you were a Gay Catholic man, you became a priest. After all, it offset all kinds of prying questions like, “Why don’t you have a girlfriend yet?””

    I think this is just common fodder thinking. There is no evidence that fifty percent of Catholic Priests are engaged in homosexuality. That is the notion men used to dissuade their sons or pals — common make fun assertions — not fact. I was a Catholic in the Germany, Panama and more than ten states. I never once ran into an occassion to fear my clergy I served with as alter boy from any form of sexual assault. Something tells me that in that time and that expanse — I would have come across at least one. Not even in an all boys prep school did that happen.

    But to answer the question:

    1. I am too ugly (though I have some very fine suits)
    2. too poor

    But those two combinations are death nlows for single guys. My houemate says I am also completely unaware of when a woman is interested so 3. stupid could be added to the list.

    One can overcome any one or possibly any two, but a combination of all three requires compassion beyond that of Christ I think. There are sorts of reasons men are single at various ages — but homosexuality is probably very very very low on the list.

    and five despite having the afformentioned handicaps — I am forever considering women “out of my league.”

  31. “Is that his subjective opinion, or did he cite objective data and studies on which he based it?”

    I read this and thought you might find it helpful.

    Earl Boyea
    http://www.leaderu.com/ftissues/ft0102/articles/boyea.html

    [Don’t post full articles as comments. The link above should suffice. –ed.]

  32. “People who aren’t celibate make it sound like its more difficult than it is. ie “you need to be really strong.” No you don’t; it really isn’t hard at all.”

    That last line has to be one of the great unintended puns of all time. Truly Joyceian.

  33. Michael says:

    Girardi’s article is good. Some real insights here.

    Some of these comments about gay priests seem off. Fifty percent gay? I don’t think Cozzens made that claim, although he offered estimates of between 25-58 percent, depending on who you talk to. Who knows what the true number is, but I’d be shocked if it were more than 20 percent.

  34. Michael,

    Could be a pun, I guess, if you interpret it that way 🙂 I wouldn’t say celibate people don’t experience that any less than say a husband after women who are not his wife. And its not a harder decision to say no in the first situation than the latter.

    The more important point is that we kind of have a culture that scares people off of celibacy by making it sound really difficult, when it isn’t, or which makes sex sound really important, when it isn’t. Christians add to that when they talk about abstinence before marriage and make it sound as if you’re “holding it in” for your future wife as a noble gesture of love, or romanticize as a noble, difficult path the profession of a celibate priest.

    The advice of “hold it in” is more likely to lead to repression and emotional problems than the more stoic and less decidedly romantic advice that you have self-control, should exercise it, and sex isn’t important, and you can enjoy life without it. But I guess you sound more fuddy-duddy by being the stoic over the romantic.

    And Elite is right that a lot of straight men don’t date and, more than people think, remain virgins later in life. But there has been pressure for people to think that this is a bad, evil thing, that one has to rid themselves of, just as much as there has been for people to think being gay is a bad, evil thing that one has to rid themselves of.

  35. All good points from SickofTalking about our over-sexualized culture and the endless use of sex for marketing.

  36. Msgr. Boyea (now Bishop of Lansing) is spot on in his look at Fr. Cozzens’ book and I will say that Fr. Cozzens and other priests of “that generation” are the problem. They are guards who either fell asleep at their posts or actively aided and abetted the enemy in their positions. Folks have been writing the same garbage about how the new priests are “servant leaders” as opposed to the “cultic” leaders of old and now that these “servant leaders” are older, they bellyache about how the current new priests are “going back” to the “cultic” model. Well, I suppose that is one way with dealing with the fact that their fathering was fruitless and that they hardly raised any sons according to their idea of the bright and shiney new Church they were trying to sing into being. They are the grass on the rooftops that withered before it is plucked, they bore no good fruit but they will never admit it.

    I was in the seminary for four years, my last one was at the time under the tutelage of a wonderfully orthodox bishop and we thrived. I went on to get married, but it certainly wasn’t because of any underground gay mafia or because I think any of the Church’s teachings were wrong. Far from it, my time in seminary made me a better Catholic than I could have imagined before I entered.

    With the limitations of the combox, I will say this. Orthodoxy, strong masculine leadership, strong sense of identity within both clerical and lay circles, and a high emphasis on prayer will produce good priests. Questionable orthodoxy, wishy-washy identity, being browbeat by feminazi nuns and effeminate priests for being properly Catholic will produce (at best, aside from pure grace triumphing over all) bitter and gunshy orthodox priests that had to be on the “down low” about being Catholic and worse all sorts of showman narcissists, deviants of all stripes, careerists, and “social justice” types who would have been better off employed by a non-profit than afflicted on God’s people.

    As to the “lavender mafia”, it certainly exists. Not as some overarching conspiracy, but as a result of the societal upheavals from the 60s and on. It does not suprise me that homosexuals are the ones who set up a cabal like this in parts of the Church, you will find no more manipulative narcissists on earth than homosexuals who have taken on Church offices to live their “lifestyle” on the Church’s dime. Those priests who identify as homosexuals (with all the progressive theological garbage that often caries in tow) are a great scourge on the Church.

  37. “social justice” types who would have been better off employed by a non-profit than afflicted on God’s people.

    You mean like Jesus?

  38. “You mean like Jesus.”

    Apparently Jesus was quite the nonprofit mover and shaker. Yeah, like him. Where nonprofit oraganizations helped people all the while providing moal training — yeah — like him. No premarital sex, no drunkeness, no lieing or stealing —

    all without the help of government —

    Yeah — like him.

  39. Well, your either not a Catholic or went through 12 years of Catholic School after 1967 or so. I can’t tell which…

  40. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Michael N Moore: “He may not be aware of the extent of gayness in the Church throughout much of the rest of the world.” But you are? OK.

  41. TimmyC said:

    “Michael N Moore: “He may not be aware of the extent of gayness in the Church throughout much of the rest of the world.” But you are? OK.”

    What the exact percentage of gay men that are priests is open to argument, as we have seen. The importance of what the Pope is talking about is that the Church has a shadow Curia of closeted gay men. In my opinion this type of clique lead to the cover up of underage sex scandals and the pay-out of much of the Church’s US assets for the settlement of civil complaints that should have been challenged in court.

    And yes, I also believe the rector of a US seminary has a better idea of the make up of US priests than does a Bishop from Argentina. But, once again, this is not the point.

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