Is Pope Benedict Gay?

The question has been often asked, and sometimes answered by way of speculation amounting to not much more than guesswork or innuendo based largely on observations on the devoted, ever present and attentive gorgeous Georg, or the expensive Prada red shoes, or the personalized celebrity fragrance.

Does it matter? Richard Sipe, noting that Benedict has has been the author seriously nasty Vatican documents seeking to bar gay men from the priesthood, and labelling our orientation as “disordered”, and has delivered speeches condemning gay marriage a “threat to humanity”, writes in a recent post that yes, it does matter. After speaking to people on the ground in Rome, both clerics and journalists, he has produced the strongest evidence that I have yet seen that Benedict is indeed “gay” – in the limited sense of having an orientation to the same – sex. (He is careful to stress that this does not imply any actual sexual activity, and we may safely assume that he is not engaging in the so-called “gay lifestyle” in Rome’s gay bars, clubs and saunas – although many of his priests do).

The fact that Benedict XVI has spoken out so vigorously and clearly about homosexually oriented men even those who practice celibacy makes him a prime target for investigation and speculation. If they are not suitable candidates for ordination to the priesthood (and their ordination is of questionable validity) what does that say of him and scores and scores of other prelates who are without doubt homosexually oriented? 

I have asked a number of Roman clerics and members of the Roman press corps if they think the pope is gay. None, of course, wish to be named for obvious reasons, but every one was convinced that Pope Benedict XVI is gay. I repeat what I said at the outset—this does not impute sin or the misbehavior that plagued Pope Paul VI, but it is a strong assertion about his orientation.

The reflection the pope’s orientation itself emphasizes the need to discuss the whole range of questions about human sexuality that the Church has considered finalized with apodictic pronouncements of “intrinsic evil”.

The Vatican is wrong about sex. Its teaching is grounded on a false understanding of natural law. If not, Pope Benedict XVI is in big trouble—he is unsuitable even as a candidate for the priesthood and his ordination may be invalid.


I do not share Sipe’s conviction that Benedict was personally responsible for the vitriol that came out of the Vatican under his predecessor, John Paul II. I think we need to take seriously James Alison’s observation that he was the signatory, not the author, of the most obnoxious documents, and that he may indeed have contributed to some softening of their original texts. We should also note that there has been a marked reduction in the rhetoric since Benedict assumed office. The often reported attacks on gay marriage have often been misreported and misrepresented. Often, press reports have simply put words into the papal mouth that he simply did not say. Even where his words have been clear and explicit, we should also consider Alison’s observation that with so many public appearances, he does not write his own speeches, and sometimes, we should just accept that in some situations, he simply has no choice but to say some things. In these cases, we should note that he appears to be saying about as little as he can get away with.   (The reported “attacks” on gay marriage have been attacks on gay marriage, not relationships.

There is a wider picture to consider, though. We know that a high proportion of all priests are gay, and inevitably that includes a significant proportion in the higher ranks. There are credible claims that Paul VI was gay, and John Paul I intended to soften church teaching before his death ended his short tenure.

There may well be some validity to the claim that the fierce hostility of John Paul II, was in reaction to what the conservative group Tradition in Action described as a “Homosexual Mafia” in the Vatican, which he was anxious to eradicate.

Before that, there were a number of popes who had sex with men, or protected those who did, or showered patronage on Renaissance artists who produced homoerotic artworks for them.

There may well be some validity to the claim that the fierce hostility of John Paul II, was in reaction to what the conservative group Tradition in Action described as a “Homosexual Mafia” in the Vatican, which he was anxious to eradicate.

It’s high time that what is well known to Vatican insiders and reporters, be exposed to greater public knowledge. We need more openness about the sexuality and sexual behaviour not simply of the Pope, but of the people who surround him – and who really are the authors of the Vatican nastiness.

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14 comments for “Is Pope Benedict Gay?

  1. Duckman44625
    March 23, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    In many issues…those who speak the loudest…frequently and rabidly…as in the case of “His Holiness”…we only need recall the words of Shakespeare “Me thinks the lady doth protest too much !”.  We all have known of homophobes…especially among fundamentalist “Christians” who are ready to throw the “faggots” into hell fire….only to come out…willingly or after being exposed…after their damage has been done.  I think we can safely label the German Shepherd, Benedict, as a rabid homophobe and suspected of being in an ivory closet.

    • Godhatesfags
      March 24, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      It is hilarious that when a faggot wants to insult a straight, the nastiest thing he can come up with is usually to call him a faggot.

  2. March 23, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    Terence, I am skeptical of Alison’s idea of a more progressive papacy. I am hoping and willing to be proven wrong. What would it then take for him to express and implement progressive views?

    • March 23, 2012 at 11:10 pm

      Mary, the problem is he is not, as many people assume, the equivalent of an absolute monarch in the way Russian czars were. He’s at the centre of a huge bureaucracy. Then there’s the question of his age, his poor health – and his obsession with academic abstract theology, not the business of running the church. 
      James’ assessment, which sounds credible to me, is that he knows that change must come – but if he tries to insist on it now, it will simply stir up resistance. So instead, he is simply saying as little as he can get away with, leaving space for others to speak up and get a discussion going, preparing the way for real change later. 
      That’s all speculation, and open to dispute. We’ll know more in a few more years. What is beyond dispute, because it’s now in the public record, is that there has been a major shift in tone and emphasis under Benedict. Some of the attacks on gay marriage have been extreme, but there have not been significant attacks on gay relationships. There has been renewed emphasis on the “respect compassion and sensitivity” line in the Catechism, and far less attention to the genital acts.
      Nasty as the attacks on gay marriage have been, they would have been far more unpleasant if JP II were still around to fan the flames.

      • Colkoch
        March 25, 2012 at 5:07 pm

         Terry, I’ve thought for some time now that Benedict really is concerned about the faith of the ‘simple’ people.  These are the people whose sense of God and right and wrong are firmly based in the catechetical training they received up until confirmation.  They have not progressed beyond that understanding and consequently are not equipped to emotionally handle what they perceive to be a change in hard doctrine.  I think when you point out Benedict has attacked gay marriage, but not gay relationships, you are pointing to a need of his to placate one group of Catholics while leaving other groups to read between his lines.

        It’s the kind of strategy employed with birth control back in the day.  The absolutist condemnations that came from the hierarchy were pastorally softened by priests in the confessional.

        Really, when I think about it, I don’t know how else a pope can deal with these kinds of issues when he knows the core group of believers are both black and white moral thinkers and sacramentally cultic—and too many of them are very wealthy supporters.  It’s a tough equation to balance.

        • March 26, 2012 at 1:02 pm

          Colkoch, I don’t really like this way of thinking. Very similar to ‘young Church’ thinking I hear being used patronize certain populations.

          Why can’t Benedict take the approach some of our more ‘cautious’ allied priests take in simply saying that LGBTQ Catholics are welcome in our Church and emphasize that? This is why I am skeptical. A Platonic footnote and omitting a few select phrases doesn’t seem to say much to me. 

          Acknowledging I know very little of Vatican ‘politics’, exactly what power do these other unnamed Bishops/clerics have? Why aren’t we naming them, calling them out, and openly testing their assertions? If Benedict can do anything…he can do that.

  3. Luke
    March 24, 2012 at 12:41 am

    This is an appalling malicious rumour (completely unfounded I might add unnamed sources = no credibility). QTC has finally descended to the sewer press.

    Just as a piece of advice these anti-Pope blog posts will only piss off conservatives and cause more suspicion of the Soho Mass. For example I used to support the soho mass, I was confirmed by a Soho mass priest (not at the soho mass) a fact until recently I was proud of but now I strongly oppose them and would if I had the power abolish them. If you want to harden opinion against the Soho masses this is the way to do it take a look at Protect the Pope’s latest blog post if you don’t believe me.

    • March 24, 2012 at 3:44 am

      Yout statement that I have accused the Pope of anything is false, on three counts. First,if it is morally neutral just to have a homosexual orientation (as the Catechism and other Vatican documents make clear), then to state that anyone has that orientation is not an accusation, any more than it would be to say that he is left-handed, or has red hair. If I had written that he was sexually active, that would be a different matter – but I was very careful to stress that this is not so.
      Second, I did not make the statement – I reported it. Finally, I have not only named my source (Richard Sipe), I have included a link to his original post.

  4. Deanblack
    March 24, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    unfounded accusations amount to slander – isn’t that illegal?

  5. Markdvnprt12
    March 24, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    This is very interesting.  It would be nice to have some honesty about this.  But from what you said here it doesn’t seem like Pope Benedict is a rabid homophobe.  

  6. Andyclarag
    March 25, 2012 at 6:39 am

    You are tragically promoting dissent from the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church that homosexual acts are immoral and a sin. To then compound ridicule and calumny of the Holy Father  displays a profound distance from the Catholic faith. Please read the Catechism and ask a good priest for spiritual direction in your quest for conformity to the will of God

  7. pipsprof
    February 27, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Quite frankly, who cares. If Benoit is gay, so what? If he wants to marry, so what? It has all been done before by previous popes. Popes are elected by man , not some non-existent god so they are prone to the mistakes we all make – why pretend otherwise? I am an athiest and proud of it – the only thing I worry about with the decline of catholocism is the rise of Islam and its fanatics. Oh to live in an intelligent, religious free world where people have no need for invented gods….and all the fear they engender.

  8. mike
    March 31, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    obviously the author is gay

  9. ronald lindau
    September 19, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    god knows whos are his

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