Controversy abounds: was the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI linked to sexual 'deviations' inside the Vatican? A Guardian report suggests so. Reports such as these are not the first time Benedict’s sexuality has gained attention.
Angelo Quattrocchi writes in his book The Pope is Not Gay that In 1986 Joseph Ratzinger, then a Cardinal, was brought to the Vatican by Pope John Paul II to restore order after ten years of relatively liberal attitudes towards sexuality and women.
“He quickly produces the Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral care of Homosexuals ... I condemn you - he says – and as always I discriminate against you. But I do it to please my God and, of course, for your own good. Souls are good. Aresholes are bad.”
Quattrocchi suggests that as Pope, Benedict’s deeply repressed sexuality manifests as pathological homophobia.
“As psychology suggests, the repression he suffered in those dark, wretched days in Nazi Germany brought about his sad condemnation of all sexual practices not approved by canon law. … One thing is certain. Sex became an obsession with him.”
The Pope Is Not Gay cites signs of Benedict’s repressed sexuality, from his personal servant who Quattrocchi likens to the handsome Steve McQueen, to Ratzinger’s flamboyant dress sense (his famous Ray-ban sunglasses and pink Prada shoes).
In his own address, Benedict stated his reasons for leaving were due to his fading strength in old age. He said, with a touch of sadness:
“I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.”
In other reports, Reuters write on how his resignation was received in parts of Rome’s gay community:
"This was the most reactionary pope ever, who made homophobia one of his battle cries," Franco Grillini, founder of Italy's biggest gay advocacy group Arcigay, said in a telephone interview. "So his resignation was good news."
However Grillini has little hope for the Catholic Church electing a progressive replacement.
"The college of cardinals is made up of very old people - a male chauvinist gerontocracy," said Grillini. "So we have no illusion about a new pope having more moderate views about civil rights and homosexuality."