In tomorrow's New York Times, Rachel Donadio has a hilarious piece on the Vatican's 'Gay Lobby,' which Pope Francis acknowledged this week in conversation. It seems that the previous Pope sent a dossier (dossier? really? The Vatican is like MI6) to his successor mentioning this gay lobby, and Pope Francis is reported as saying that, yes, indeed, it exists.
It's slightly hard to decipher what this gay lobby does, or how it operates. As Donadio phrases it, "reports describe ... a network of gay priests inside the Vatican who used blackmail to gain influence and trade in state secrets." The piece is full of amusing lines, including a quote from Francis where he reassuringly describes himself as "very disorganized; I have never been good at [management]," and an expert who is quoted as saying, "this is a question of blackmail and blackmailability, not homosexuality." But the best lines concern the Vatican's uneasy or unwilling embrace (if that's the proper word) of, well, not homosexuality so much as the concept of homosexuality. "If you have an institution as big as the Vatican," one Vatican official explained to Donadio, "there are some who will be homosexual, some maybe actively so." Progress!
Isaac Chotiner is a senior editor at The New Republic. Follow him on Twitter @IChotiner