Religion of Saturday, 23 February 2013
The Vatican has dismissed reports in the Italian press which link Pope Benedict XVI's resignation to the discovery of a gay faction within the Vatican, according to news agencies and other media.
Italian newspaper La Repubblica claims on the day the pope resigned he was presented with a report by three cardinals assigned to investigate the leak of confidential Vatican documents.
Their investigation, according to the newspaper, revealed several secret networks within the Vatican including one whose members were "united by sexual orientation".
The Vatican secretariat of state said in a statement: "It is deplorable that as we draw closer to the time of the beginning of the conclave … that there be a widespread distribution of often unverified, unverifiable or completely false news stories that cause serious damage to persons and institutions."
Pope Benedict will be the first pope to voluntarily resign as the head of the Catholic Church in over seven centuries.