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A Look At The Vatican’s Not-So-Secret Gay Lobby

The long-rumored secret “gay lobby” at the Vatican is real, according to a high-ranking Honduran cardinal.

Cardinal Óscar Maradiaga of Teguciculpa
Cardinal Óscar Maradiaga (image via mtande)

The Catholic News Agency reports that Cardinal Óscar Maradiaga (Archbishop of Tegucigulpa), told Honduran newspaper El Heraldo that Pope Francis hopes to slowly purify the Vatican’s so-called “gay lobby.” Maradiaga, a saxophone-playing airplane pilot, is one of the Vatican’s key reformers, encouraging Pope Francis to appoint more women to key posts. Maradiaga claims no affiliation with the lobby he hopes to end.

The Vatican’s “gay lobby” first came to light three years ago, when reports hinted that it was partly responsible for the abdication of Pope Benedict. The Vatican denied the suggestion, but a few months later Chilean Catholic website Reflexión y liberación reported that then newly-appointed Pope Francis had acknowledged the group in a private meeting with a Latin American Catholic confederation. Francis publicly denied its existence the following month, but pointed out that all political lobbying within the Vatican posed “the gravest problem.”

In the summer of 2013, Italian magazine L’Espresso suggested gay dalliances in Uruguay by Monsignor Battista Ricca — a clergyman appointed by Pope Francis to an important position within the Vatican bank. Over his tenure, Ricca allegedly had a gay relationship with a captain in the Swiss Army, was once allegedly discovered trapped in an elevator with a young man and also allegedly got beaten up in a gay bar. The magazine believed that the Pope was unaware of Ricca’s past, thanks to an internal cover-up by the lobby. The Vatican denies this.

Reports of gay activity in the Vatican are nothing new. The Pope is protected by a team of roughly 110 men called the Swiss Guard. Emar Maeder, a former member of the Swiss Guard said in 2014 that he had been propositioned, courted, and even fondled at least twenty times by cardinals, bishops, priests, and other Vatican officials. His complaints were dismissed.

The Vatican is also home to Cardinal Bernard Law, the Boston archbishop who fled in disgrace after leading a ring to cover-up a massive web of sex abusers and statutory rapists within the church. “I think most of the other cardinals see him as a victim rather than anyone who was culpable of anything,” says longtime Vatican reporter Robert Mickens. “He was not punished.” Law’s misdeeds are the subject of Oscar-nominated film Spotlight.

Maradiaga said in the same newspaper interview that the Church will never support same-sex marriage: “We can see how God has designed the human body, the body of the man and the body of a woman to complement each other and transmit life. The contrary is not the plan of creation.” So maybe the gay lobby just wants to have a good time? Oh Lord…