By Jessica Doran
As many have learned over the past few weeks, Pope Benedict XVI has decided to resign as the figurehead of Vatican City and the Roman Catholic Church.
Benedict is the first pope to resign since Celestine V did the same over seven centuries ago.
TIME Magazine lists Cardinals Francis Arinze of Nigeria, Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina and Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga of Honduras as front runners for the papacy.
The possibility of a black pope (Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson of Ghana) has been making headlines, but the Vatican’s future isn’t all people are talking about.
Amidst reports that Benedict is retiring because of illness (progressing Parkinson’s disease), controversial information has come to light.
It has been rumored that the pope decided to resign after receiving damning information about a gay sex scandal that occurred within Vatican walls.
It has been reported that the pope decided to resign mid-December, the day after said report was shown to him.
Combined with the cover-ups of sexual molestations by priests, Benedict’s papacy has certainly been eventful.
All of the information that has come out is extremely murky, since the Vatican is clearly trying to cover up any signs of unrest or scandal.
According to an Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, the report had clear references to the blackmailing of the pope and “the non-observance of the Sixth and Seventh Commandments.”
The Sixth Commandment of the Catholic faith prohibits adultery, but has specific links to the act of homosexuality. The seventh commandment preaches against theft.
The Vatican is declining comment at the present time, which is to be expected.
However, in recent press, the pope has made allusions to the incident, speaking of the shame that it brings upon the church and warning others against abuses of power.
Although still extremely vague and unclear, it seems that this unrest may have culminated in Benedict’s resignation and hints at his unhappiness about it.
The Vatican does not outwardly condemn homosexuality, but the underlying values of the Catholic faith teach against its practice.
While it does not seem that the truth will be released any time soon, if ever, this is an interesting study of scandal within religious boundaries and the power that concealment of these scandals can harness.