Pope Benedict XVI announced today that he has resigned his papacy because he is gay and “could no longer live a lie.”
In a statement released to Italian news media the 85-year-old departing pontiff says he is relieved to be coming out after eight decades in the closet and urged the Catholic Church and other faiths to accept homosexuality as a natural part of God’s creation.
“Like many gay Catholics, I have been forced for too long to choose between my faith and my identity,” the statement reads. “My profound love for my beloved church compelled me to lie to myself and to my fellow believers about a basic component of my humanity.
“I deeply regret that deception. I have not been honest with the Church, and for that reason I decided that I could not continue my role as leader of the world’s one billion Catholics.
“Now that I have been liberated of this secret, I wish to express my belief that homosexuals are equal in the eyes of God. I beseech the Catholic Church to reconsider its ban on gay clergy and become a leading force in the struggle for gay rights.”