By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com February 22 2013 1:39 PM ET
Pope Benedict XVI's announcement that he would retire at the end of this month shocked many, but one of the causes of his retirement adds to the spectacle.
Italian newspaper La Repubblica exposes more on a network of gay prelates within the Vatican, who may have influenced Pope Benedict's decision to step down from his post as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
The pope received a massive internal report presented by three cardinals in December. He ordered the report after the arrest and conviction of the Pope's butler, Paolo Gabriele, who was found guilty of confiscating documents from the papal apartment. The report said that several factions within the Vatican were breaking commandments, including the sixth (thou shalt not steal) and the seventh (thou shalt not commit adultery). The stealing mentioned was in reference to mismanagement at the Vatican Bank, IOR, and the sixth commandment is often referenced when speaking of homosexuality.
According to the report, the alleged gay network convened in a handful of locations in and around Rome, including a sauna, a beauty parlor, university housing being used by a provincial Italian archbishop, and a villa.
Father Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, released a statement on the accusations.
"Neither the cardinals' commission nor I will make comments to confirm or deny the things that are said about this matter," he said according to the Guardian (U.K.). "Let each one assume his or her own responsibilities. We shall not be following up on the observations that are made about this."