Speaking informally to a confederation of religious groups from Latin America and the Caribbean, he said: “In the Curia, there are also holy people, really, there are holy people.”
But, he added: “There also is a stream of corruption, there is that as well, it is true... The 'gay lobby' is mentioned, and it is true, it is there... We need to see what we can do.”
The Pope’s words, reported on the Rorate Caeli website, follow the completion of a secret report on the leaking of Vatican documents. The commission report, led by three retired cardinals, was presented earlier this year to Benedict XVI and Francis.
The contents of the dossier are unknown, but it’s thought to implicate a small number of Vatican officials in “gay lobby” activity as well as some financial malpractice.
Rumors over the existence of such a group in the Vatican have circulated for years and the extent of the problem is thought to have partly influenced Benedict to resign. But until now, successive popes never have publicly acknowledged it.
Some Catholics believe such a lobby pervades much of the Church in the West, weakening its proclamation of the Gospel and compromising the Church’s integrity and authority.
They also blame bishops for not speaking out more forcefully against such groups.
Pope Francis did not say how he would tackle such a lobby in the Curia, the church's central government. But during the June 6 meeting with the Latin American and Caribbean group he raised the subject of reforming the Vatican — something, he said, that “almost all Cardinals asked for” in the meetings leading up to the conclave that selected him as Pope in March.
“I also asked for it,” he said. “I cannot promote the reform myself — [on] these matters of administration I am very disorganized, I have never been good at this — but the cardinals of the Commission will move it forward.”
He asked those present to pray for him “that I make mistakes the least possible.”
One of Francis' first acts as Pope was to create a commission of eight cardinals who will help him on Church governance including curial reform. The commission is to meet for the first time in October, although Francis already is consulting them and others.
Informed Vatican sources tell Newsmax that Francis has been holding a series of brainstorming sessions with Vatican-based cardinals and other senior Vatican officials on how to reform the Curia.