The Vatican’s deputy Secretary of State called on former vice commander of the Swiss guard to give names regarding claims that a powerful ‘gay lobby’ exists in the Vatican.
Retired Swiss Guard Commander, Elmar Mäder, told Swiss weekly Sonntag that a gay network exists in the Roman Curia, insinuating that it posed a “security risk” to the Holy Father.
“I cannot refute the claim that there is a homosexual network,” Mäder said in the interview. “My experience speaks for the existence of such [a network].”
He added that a work environment in which the vast majority consists of unmarried men “is by itself a magnet for homosexuals, whether they seek it consciously or are unconsciously following an urge.”
Regarding the security risk, he said he had learned that many homosexuals tend to be loyal to each other rather than to other persons or institutions. “If this loyalty goes so far as to become a network, or even a kind of secret society, I would not be able to tolerate it within my decision-making area,” he said.
In an interview this week with Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, Archbishop Angelo Becciu responded saying that it is too easy to speak in general terms without saying any names of those involved in the alleged network. “As a former Swiss Guard, Mäder knows well that rumors, accusations […] must always be substantiated and proven,” Archbishop Becciu said.
“When he was in service, did he have any suspects? Are these suspects still present? […] Okay then, come here and tell us exactly to whom it relates. We are willing to listen and take note. Pope Francis wants first of all clarity and truth, and so do all of us.”
The rumors of a gay lobby existing within the Vatican have been reported for years. During his return flight from World Youth Day to Rio de Janeiro, Pope Francis was asked regarding the existence of such a lobby.
“So much is written about the gay lobby. I still haven’t found anyone with an identity card in the Vatican with ‘gay’ on it,” the Pope said. “They say there are some there. I believe that when you are dealing with such a person, you must distinguish between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of someone forming a lobby, because not all lobbies are good. This one is not good.”
The Risk of Slander
Archbishop Becciu warned of the possibility of hurling accusations and rumors before any investigations into the matter has been made. The deputy Secretary of State recalled rumors that were spread regarding two people in his office.
“The outcome of this [investigation] was that these two people have been completely cleared of suspicion,” he said. “This shows that care must be taken before launching accusations, because you are likely to slander and there is no worse thing than hitting an innocent person with false accusations.”
When asked if he felt that Mäder’s allegations would be considered slander, Archbishop Becciu said that he found the timing of the accusations “very suspicious”.
“I am rather surprised that now that we live in a beautiful and important spiritual time, and right now after the valuable work of Pope Benedict XVI, as well as Pope Francis, who is working hard to make a missionary Church and a transparent and clean Vatican, that there is someone coming back in the limelight with generic accusations,” the archbishop said.
Before concluding his interview, Archbishop Becciu was asked about Pope Francis’ openness towards gay people. The deputy Secretary of State said that while the Pope has reminded the faithful of the Gospel’s call to love all and to not judge, many unfortunately take it as an endorsement of gay ‘marriage’.
By saying that the Holy Father approves gay marriage, he said, “means to force his words, something that hurts him deeply.”
“The Pope is a son of the Church and faithful to its doctrine, as he himself has said.” (J.A.E.)