REUTERS/Tony GentilePope Francis has caused a stir in the religious world after comments that appeared to admit the influence of the "gay lobby" in the Vatican were picked up by a Catholic news website.
The comments were allegedly made last Thursday when the pope was talking at the Latin American and Caribbean Confederation of Religious Men and Women and were first reported by Chilean website Reflection and Liberation.
“In the Curia,” Francis reportedly told his audience, referring to the Vatican's famously opaque bureaucracy, “there are holy people, but there is also a stream of corruption.”
“The 'gay lobby' is mentioned, and it is true, it is there,” Francis continued. “We need to see what we can do.”
A Vatican spokesperson later refused to comment on the report to CNN, arguing that the meeting was private.
Earlier this year Italian newspaper La Repubblica newspaper alleged that Pope Benedict's resignation was prompted by a report prepared by three Cardinals on conflict and corruption in the Vatican, including what it says is the "inappropriate influence" of a "gay lobby" within the Holy See.
The report inferred that this group was the subject of blackmail attempts, detailing an "external influence" from those with a "worldly nature."
Reports of homosexuality in the Vatican are very common — the Vatican became embroiled in a gay prostitution scandal in 2010, for example, and rumors dogged Pope Benedict himself.
Pope Francis has made reforming the Curia a key part of his reforms, AFP reports, and the inefficient bureaucracy is widely believed to be a problem in the modern church.
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