Just days before Pope Benedict became the first pontiff to resign in 600 years, his office was embroiled in yet another intrigue — this time involving the discovery of an alleged gay underworld in the Vatican.
As reported in La Repubblica, an underground network of Vatican officials has allegedly been engaging in sexual acts at locations throughout Rome, including a sauna and beauty parlor. These gay (or closeted) clergy have supposedly been blackmailed by a group of male prostitutes.
The news wasn’t too surprising to those who view the papacy’s draconian approach to human sexuality as the source of so much secrecy and sexual abuse rampant throughout the culture of the priesthood. But the Vatican was quick to dismiss a claim that the pope decided to resign after allegedly hearing this news in a Dec. 17 dossier: “It is deplorable that as we draw closer to the time of the beginning of the conclave … that there be a widespread distribution of often unverified, unverifiable or completely false news stories that cause serious damage to persons and institutions,” said the Vatican’s secretariat of state in an excerpt published in the Guardian.