Pope Francis has stunned Vatican-watchers by acknowledging that a "gay lobby" exists high up in the church hierarchy. "It is true, it is there ... We need to see what we can do," the pontiff told a key Latin American church group on June 6, according to a synthesis of his remarks prepared by its leaders after a meeting, the AP reports. Further, the BBC notes that Francis alluded to a "stream of corruption" within the Vatican, and told the group he was relying on eight cardinals he appointed to lead reform. "I am very disorganized, I have never been good at this," he said. "But the cardinals of the commission will move it forward."
Francis' comments hearken back to Benedict XVI's resignation, when Italian media reports claimed his decision was sparked by a "Vatileaks" dossier that revealed a network of gay cardinals and priests who were being blackmailed. The Latin American church group has apologized to the pope, saying it was greatly distressed that the document had been published; the audience was a private and unrecorded one, but the group's leadership team together wrote a synthesis of the points he had made for their own personal use. Reads the statement: "One cannot attribute with certainty to the Holy Father singular expressions in the text, but just the general sense."