VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - Pope Emeritus Benedict is admitting he confronted a powerful gay lobby that worked to influence decisions in the Vatican. He's also conceding that he failed to govern as effectively as he should have.
In his memoirs titled "Final Conversations," a 240-page interview with Peter Seewald due to be published September 9, the retired pontiff reveals that although the gay lobby did not pressure him to resign, it did seek to sway his opinions during his reign.
Friday, Italy's Corriere della Sera, which owns publishing rights to the memoir, reveals that Benedict rejected rumors he was forced to resign in 2013, denying any "blackmail or pressure" was involved.
He also discloses that he discovered a homosexual ring consisting of four or five individuals in the Vatican who worked to push their own agenda, and that he succeeded in breaking up "this power group."
Pope Francis has admitted to the existence of a "gay lobby" in the Church, a statement recently corroborated by his closest advisor, Cdl. Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, who acknowledged in January that there has been an "infiltration of the gay community in the Vatican."
"Not only that," he added, "also the Pope said there was even a 'lobby' in this sense." Maradiaga said Pope Francis "is trying to purify it" gradually.
In 2012, a report written by Polish priest Fr. Dariusz Oko titled "With the Pope Against the Homoheresy" claimed a "homomafia" exists and exercises enormous influence in Rome, especially in its attempts to undermine the papacy.
A criticism leveled at Benedict has been a failure to rein in problematic bishops or exercise greater firmness in his rule, and the retired pontiff seems to concede this failure in his upcoming memoir. Not only was he "incredulous" when he was chosen to succeed Pope John Paul II as Vicar of Christ, unable to sleep for days after the election, he admitted that during his reign he lacked "resoluteness in governing."
The former pontiff stepped down in 2013, citing health reasons, becoming the first pope in 600 years to resign. He has since led a quiet life in a former convent in the Vatican Gardens, only occasionally making public appearances.
His memoirs are a historic first in that no other pope has ever publicly speculated on his pontificate after the fact.