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I suppose it could be coincidental. Coincidences do happen.
The paper (La Repubblica) said the pope had taken the decision on 17 December that he was going to resign – the day he received a dossier compiled by three cardinals delegated to look into the so-called “Vatileaks” affair…
Perhaps the Pope's reading of the "dossier" and his resignation are not related. Perhaps the two things are not related at all....just coincidence. Perhaps.
Or perhaps not. You may remember the scandal involving the Pope's butler.....
Last May Pope Benedict's butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested and charged with having stolen and leaked papal correspondence that depicted the Vatican as a seething hotbed of intrigue and infighting.
The report that 3 cardinals delivered to the Pope on December 17, "two volumes of almost 300 pages – bound in red"....delved into the details behind the butler's leaks. The highlights from that report....
...the cardinals described a number of factions, including one whose members were "united by sexual orientation".
....some Vatican officials had been subject to "external influence" from laymen with whom they had links of a "worldly nature". The paper said this was a clear reference to blackmail.
It quoted a source "very close to those who wrote [the cardinal's report]" as saying: "Everything revolves around the non-observance of the sixth and seventh commandments."
The seventh enjoins against theft. The sixth forbids adultery, but is linked in Catholic doctrine to the proscribing of homosexual acts.
To devotees of the "holiness" of the Vatican, this may be the most disturbing paragraph....
La Repubblica said the cardinals' report identified a series of meeting places in and around Rome. They included a villa outside the Italian capital, a sauna in a Rome suburb, a beauty parlour in the centre, and a former university residence that was in use by a provincial Italian archbishop.
Just in case you can't read between the lines here....
La Repubblica's report was the latest in a string of claims that a gay network exists in the Vatican. In 2007 a senior official was suspended from the congregation, or department, for the priesthood, after he was filmed in a "sting" organised by an Italian television programme 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.
Like I said, this may be very disturbing to Catholics who look up to the hierarchy of the Church for divine guidance and whatnot. After all, the Church has made its stance known on homosexuality ....
The Vatican does not condemn homosexuals. But it teaches that gay sex is "intrinsically disordered". Pope Benedict has barred sexually active gay men from studying for the priesthood.
Not condemned by the Church, you understand, if you're orientation is gay. But if you act on your orientation.....well, then....Church authorities reject you for acting "intrinsically disordered."
As I began.....perhaps Benedict's reading of the "dossier" report and his resignation the same day might just be coincidental. Happenstance. One not having anything to do with the other. Perhaps La Repubblica has it completely wrong.
But if the story is true as reported....and the publication promises more to come....then, we have a situation here, as Digby points out, where two decades of revelations of child molestations and child rape at the hands of Church-employee priests....plus Church-employer coverups, refusing to report child rapes to police, shuffling offending priests to other districts, and all the rest of the ugliness.....was not sufficient to warrant a papal resignation. Not bad or evil enough, perhaps?
But, the potential publicity surrounding gay clergy members working inside the Vatican being blackmailed by their pedestrian "partners".....compelled Benedict to call it quits.
There's probably more to the story. That is, if the story is not simply based on random coincidence.