Sex, lies and the next Pope

The Spectator

Freddy Gray
2 March 2013

In a corner of the Sistine Chapel, below Michelangelo’s hell, is a door to the little chamber they call ‘the room of tears’. Some painter-decorators are in there, frantically doing the place up. That’s because, in a matter of days, a new Pope will be led into the room. According to tradition, at that moment, as he first contemplates the magnitude of his role, he will weep.

A myth, you might think. But we can be sure that the next Supreme Pontiff — whoever he is — will have plenty to sob about. Since Benedict XVI’s resignation two weeks ago, each day seems to have brought yet more bad news. Scandal is swarming around the upcoming papal conclave like a Biblical plague.

There’s the poor old Scottish cardinal Keith O’Brien, who resigned on Monday after reports of ‘inappropriate acts’ with fellow priests. There’s the two American cardinals, Roger Mahoney and Timothy Dolan, facing renewed accusations that they protected paedophile priests in their dioceses.

And then the big one: the theory that the real reason Benedict resigned was not ill-health, but because he was so appalled by the findings of an investigation he commissioned into the so-called ‘Vatileaks’ affair. The Italian newspaper La Repubblica has been publishing extraordinary claims that the 300-page Vatileaks dossier proves that Benedict was forced out by an ‘underground gay network’. Whispers of sodomy and bribery abound.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.