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Gay Lobby Exists In The Vatican, Admits Pope Francis

12/06/2013 08:14 BST | Updated 11/08/2013 10:12 BST

Pope Francis has acknowledged the existence of a "gay lobby" within the Vatican and says he will take action, according to reports.

Following years of whispers about a homosexual cabal operating in the Catholic Church, the Pope addressed the issue during an audience with the Latin American and Caribbean Confederation of Religious Men and Women (CLAR).

Excerpts of that meeting were reported in Spanish on the Chilean Catholic website Reflexion y Liberation:

pope francis

Pope Francis has addressed the existence of a 'gay lobby' in the Vatican

"Y, sí... es difícil. En la curia hay gente santa, de verdad, hay gente santa. Pero también hay una corriente de corrupción, también la hay, es verdad... Se habla del "lobby gay", y es verdad, está ahí... hay que ver qué podemos hacer..."

A translation from Catholic blog Rorate Caeli reads as follows:

"Yes, it is difficult. In the curia there are holy people, truly holy people. But there is also a current of corruption, also there is, it is true... they speak of a 'Gay Lobby' and that is true, it is there.. we will have to see what we can do..."

He did not specify what kind of action he might take, but added: "The reform of the Roman Curia is something that almost all Cardinals asked for in the Congregations preceding the Conclave. I also asked for it. I cannot promote the reform myself, these matters of administration... I am very disorganised, I have never been good at this...Pray for me... that I make mistakes the least possible."

In February it was alleged Pope Benedict XVI's decision to resign was influenced by the discovery of a gay network in the Vatican that led to some clergymen being blackmailed by outsiders.

pope benedict xvi

Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation on February 28, citing health reasons

The claims were made in Italy's La Repubblica newspaper, which says the network was described in a 300 page report presented to the Pope by three cardinals assigned to investigate the "Vatileaks" scandal of 2012.

The report allegedly describes divisions in the Roman Catholic Church, including a "cross-party network united by sexual orientation."

"For the first time, the word homosexual was pronounced," the newspaper claims, referring to a meeting where the cardinals presented their findings to the Pope.

Quoting further words from the report, it talks of evidence of "external influence" on Vatican officials with whom they had links of a "worldly nature".

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La Repubblica added: "We would call it blackmail."

It also claims the report alleges various lobbies within the Holy See consistently broke sixth and seventh commandments - namely "thou shalt not steal" and "thou shalt not commit adultery".

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi refused to confirm or deny the allegations.

"Neither the cardinals' commission nor I will make comments to confirm or deny the things that are said about this matter," he said, according to The Guardian.

"Let each one assume his or her own responsibilities. We shall not be following up on the observations that are made about this."

The Guardian also points out a further Italian newspaper - Corriere della Sera - which makes reference to a "disturbing" dossier published soon after the Pope's resignation was announced.