A Facebook friend posted a link to an article in the Guardian on a possible reason for the pope's abrupt announcement of his retirement.
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.A sufficient number of reports have surfaced to indicate a pattern in which those who protest the loudest against same-sexuality, whether the persons are politicians, government officials, leaders or spokespersons in religious institutions, or otherwise engaged are often enough caught in a web of deceit of their own making. I don't know all the details of the story of what took place in the Vatican, but I would not be surprised if the existence of the factions "united by sexual orientation" proves to be true, thus the ironic title of the post.
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".
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.The men alleged to be involved don't seem to have exercised a great deal of discretion in their activities, but their actions were entirely predictable in an environment of mandatory celibacy. I'm not interested in prying into the sexual activity of consenting adults, except when those same adults condemn the sexual activity of other adults, some of whom have been in faithful, committed relationships for years. It's the hypocrisy...
UPDATE: The opinion piece by John L Allen, Jr in the National Catholic Reporter, may be more knowledgeable and balanced than the article in the Guardian and my commentary. I've tried not to be a bitter ex-Roman Catholic, but I'll leave it to others to judge whether or not I've succeeded.