The "gay lobby" Pope Francis says is at work in the Vatican must be ousted to prevent further damage to the Catholic Church, says Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.
"The gay lobby needs to be rooted out and hopefully [Pope Francis] follows the footsteps of Pope Benedict in doing exactly that," Donohue told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
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"It's no secret … A gay lobby means that you've got a nest of homosexual priests who are covering for each other."
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On Thursday, it was revealed that Francis, in private remarks to a Latin American church group, acknowledged that a "gay lobby" is indeed in existence at the Vatican and must be dealt with.
For months, Italian newspapers have reported that powerful prelates who are gay exist in the Vatican and that some have become the victims of blackmailers who have threatened to out them.
Donohue said that over the years, but to a lesser extent now, gay lobbies have also existed in seminaries and parishes.
"[Bestselling author and Rev.] Andrew Greeley … referred to them as the Lavender Mafia. We shouldn't have any of these people acting on their own with their own agenda," Donohue said.
"You've got to crack this open. You're either a priest committed to Jesus and everything else has to be secondary and once you have competing interests, whether it be sexuality or otherwise, then you're the problem and you need to go."
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