The Vatican on Saturday dismissed
allegations linking Pope Benedict XVI's sudden resignation to the
discovery of a “gay lobby” inside the Vatican.
Italy's largest newspaper, La
Republica, reported the discovery, claiming that Benedict
received a document detailing a network of gay priests who were being
blackmailed. The information, the paper suggested, contributed to
the pope's decision to step down.
The Vatican condemned the reports,
calling them slanderous.
“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,” the Vatican secretariat of state said in a
La Republica said that the pope
resigned the day after he received the document compiled by three
cardinals looking into the so-called “Vatileaks” affair.
The paper claimed that the cardinals'
report described a group of gay priests who were being blackmailed by
laymen with whom they had links of a “worldly nature.”