Lima, Peru, Jun 12, 2013 / 10:45 am (CNA).- In response to media flurry, the Latin American Confederation of Men and Women Religious (CLAR) released a statement on June 11 claiming that the assertion of a gay lobby at the Vatican “cannot be attributed with certainty to the Holy Father.”
The news that Pope Francis acknowledged the existence of a gay lobby at the Vatican was published on Monday by the left-leaning Chilean Catholic portal “Reflexión y liberación” (Reflection and Liberation), claiming that it was an "exclusive" account of the private meeting between Pope Francis and the CLAR presidency, held on June 6.
According to “Reflexión y liberación,” Pope Francis told CLAR members that “there are holy people in the curia, truly, there are holy people. But there is also a current (stream) of corruption, there is one, it is true… there are words about a 'gay lobby,' and it is true, it is there… we have to see what can we do (about it).”
The same source claims that the Pope also said that “the reform of the Roman curia is something that almost all of us cardinals requested during the congregations previous to the conclave. I also did. I cannot personally make that reform, with these managerial issues… I am too unorganized; I have never been good at that. But the Cardinals of the committee will carry it out.”
According to the statement, CLAR “deeply regrets the publication of a text regarding the conversation held with the Holy Father Francis on June 6. The conversation developed upon the questions asked of the Pope by those present (at the meeting).”
The group added that “there was no recording made during the conversation but shortly after a summary was made based on the memories of the participants. This summary, which does not include the questions posed to the Holy Father, was intended at (helping) the personal memory of the participants and in no way for publication.”
Regarding the decision of “Reflexión y liberación” to publish the story, CLAR says that “in fact, no authorization was requested.”
“It is clear that, based on these facts, it cannot be attributed with certainty to the Holy Father, the specific expression contained in the text, but only in its general sense.”
CNA attempted to contact CLAR’s secretary general, Fr. Gabriel Naranjo Salazar, who is currently in Rome, as well as the group’s president, Sr. Mercedes Leticia Casas Sánchez, FSpS, but did not receive a response by publication deadlines.
“Reflexión y Liberación,” based in Santiago (Chile), issued a June 12 statement defending its decision to publish the text.
“A few days ago, our magazine received a summary of what was the meeting of Pope Francis and CLAR's directive,” it stated.
“We decided to publish it as a news story, without additional comments, just a brief introduction highlighting the importance of such meetings at the Holy See, not only for the Consecrated, but for all the People of God.”
It cited Matthew 10:27: “What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.”
Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, told CNA on June 11 that “(t)he meeting between the Holy Father and the presidency of CLAR was a meeting of a private nature.
“Therefore I have no comment to make about the content of the conversation,” he said.