The release of a discussion between Pope Francis and a meeting of Catholics from South America declaring there is a “gay lobby” at the Vatican is the subject of an article by Rachel Donadio of the New York Times on May 12, 2013. You can see the full text of the article at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/13/world/europe/pope-is-quoted-as-acknowledging-a-vatican-gay-lobby.html.
In notes taken of this meeting, which were not intended for public release, the Pope declared that there was a lobby of gay members of the Vatican staff that needed to be cleaned up. The Pope has assigned a group of Bishops to help assist in investigating the presence of gay members of the Vatican staff.
While there was speculation on the reason for the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the official reason given was that he recognized his declining health impacted his ability to serve at Pope. There were widely publicized scandals involving the Vatican banking system, and sexual improprieties of priests with young parishioners, priests with priests, and at least one case of a Bishop with priests.
Within the recent postings to Catholic blogs and journals, many believe that Pope Benedict was faced with the realization that the only way to eliminate many of the negative influences was for Pope Benedict to resign to permit a change in leadership.
Pope Francis has now responded with a commission of Bishops that he appointed to investigate the Vatican and ferret out corruption and misconduct. Pope Francis is leading a somewhat austere life compared to other Popes and higher ranking members of the Catholic hierarchy.
His taking up residence outside of the normal quarters may be a way to maintain a more distant relationship from those residing in the Vatican while he works to make major changes. Pope Francis is on a different trajectory in many areas than the existing establishment in the Catholic Church. It remains to be seen how successful he will be in addressing issues like homosexuality in the church, increasing the number of priests, and reducing the incidence of sexual misconduct.
The Pope has many challenges to keep the Catholic Church growing. Whether he can be successful in reducing corruption and sexual misconduct is tied to the policy issues on the marriage of priests, the ordination of women, and discord among members regarding birth control remains to be seen.
Pope Francis could be compared in some ways to President Jimmy Carter. Jimmy Carter had excellent ideals and intentions that were suppressed by a corrupt Congress and entrenched bureaucrats throughout the government. Pope Francis faces the same challenges.
The fruits of Pope Francis’ efforts remain to be seen, but his heart appears to be with his people and not focused on maintaining the status quo.