Pope’s resignation linked to underground network of gay Vatican priests

(Editor's note: The Vatican today denied rumors involving money and gay priests, according to CNN Breaking News.)

ROME — A controversial article by Italy’s respected, leading daily newspaper, La Repubblica, has linked the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI to the discovery of blackmail, corruption and a network of gay prelates in the Vatican.

The report claimed that the Pope’s resignation was facilitated in part by the church’s hierarchy reactions to the “Vatileaks” scandal, an episode that culminated with the arrest and subsequent conviction last year of Benedict’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, who was found guilty of stealing and leaking confidential documents from the papal apartment.

La Repubblica said the Pope, who had been mulling the decision to step down, came to that decision on Dec. 17, 2012, the same day he received the report, which was compiled by three cardinals delegated to look into “Vatileaks.”

The panel, according to La Repubblica, discovered an underground gay network whose members organized sexual meetings in several locations, including a villa outside Rome, a sauna in Rome’s Cuarto Miligo distirct and in a beauty salon inside the Vatican.

The gatherings, in turn, left them open to blackmail from people outside the Vatican, the report said, according to the newspaper.

La Repubblica’s report was the latest in a string of claims that a gay network exists in the Vatican, reported the Guardian.

In 2007, a senior official was suspended from the priesthood after he was filmed in a “sting” organized by an Italian television program while apparently making sexual overtures to a younger man.

In 2010, a chorister was dismissed for allegedly procuring male prostitutes for a papal gentleman-in-waiting.

A few months later, a weekly news magazine used hidden cameras to record priests visiting gay clubs and bars and having sex.

La Repubblica reported that the pope would personally hand the confidential files to his successor, with the hope he will be “strong, young and holy” enough to take the necessary action.

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