Vatican Slams 'False' Reports Before Pope's Departure
... after Italian paper floats notion of scandal with gay Vatican priests
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2013 10:06 AM CST
In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI delivers his message concluding a weeklong spiritual retreat at the Vatican Saturday.   (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)

(Newser) – Pope Benedict's final stretch at the Vatican isn't exactly a quiet one. A spokesman lashed out today against "unverified, unverifiable or completely false news stories" that he says have been circulating in recent days. The Rev. Federico Lombardi didn't get into specifics, but he is no doubt referring to the sensational allegations in one of Italy's biggest newspapers that a network of gay priests inside the Vatican was being blackmailed by outsiders, reports the Independent.

Lombardi says enemies of the church are not only trying to discredit the Vatican as riven by infighting and controversy but to influence the selection of the next pope. He didn't spell out just how that might happen, but the AP speculates: "Some Vatican watchers have speculated that because the Vatican bureaucracy is heavily Italian, cardinals might be persuaded to elect a non-Italian, non-Vatican-based cardinal as pope to try to impose some reform on the Curia." Benedict gives his final Sunday blessing in St. Peter's Square tomorrow.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Vatican Slams 'False' Reports Before Pope's Departure is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 15 comments
Feb 24, 2013 9:06 PM CST
I'm not a catholic and by no means defend what the church has done in the past. But this endless hunting of people who are following their faith is getting ridiculous. Are there some who commit crime? Yes! Not everything is covered up though. It should be pointed out that, in the US, there are more kids abused and harrassed by teachers than by priests each year. Does that make the news? No. Funny how the media decides what we get to hear and who is the criminal and who is the victim.
Feb 24, 2013 2:04 AM CST
The report that he has brain cancer seems more plausable. Like everything else the Church does, his leaving in a hurry will be cloked in mystery.
Feb 23, 2013 2:39 PM CST
What a vipers' nest of sick, twisted, evil, abusive misogynists and child torturers. May it all go terribly wrong for them. May they be publicly defrocked (of their expensive frocks) and exposed.