Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga has confirmed the presence of a homosexual “lobby” in the Vatican and revealed that Pope Francis is trying “little by little to purify it.”

The Honduran Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, who coordinates the Council of Nine cardinals advising the Pope on reform of the Roman Curia and Church governance, was responding to a question from a Honduran newspaper reporter who asked him whether there had been “an attempt to infiltrate the gay community in the Vatican, or a moment when that had actually happened?”

Cardinal Rodriguez replied: “Not only that, also the Pope has said there is even a ‘lobby’ in this sense. Little by little the Pope is trying to purify it.” He added: “One can understand them [members of the lobby] and there is pastoral legislation to attend to them, but what is wrong cannot be truth.”

The Pope acknowledged the presence of a homosexual network of priests at the Vatican during a private conversation with leaders of a Latin American confederation of religious in June 2013. In the context of saying he found reform of the Roman Curia difficult, the Pope said: "The 'gay lobby' is mentioned, and it is true, it is there … We need to see what we can do."

He alluded to it again a month later, telling reporters on the plane back from Rio de Janeiro that “you must distinguish between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of someone forming a lobby, because not all lobbies are good. This one is not good.”

A homosexual lobby was also suspected to have been influential on both Synods on the Family when controversial passages relating to homosexuals made their way into the interim report during the 2014 meeting despite being hardly discussed, and external lobby groups sought to pressure the participants.

There was also a common perception that the Communion for remarried divorcees issue, which dominated both synods, was a “Trojan horse” to allow Church recognition of same-sex relationships and other extra-marital unions.

During last year’s synod, statements on homosexuality “seemed to come out of nowhere” at press briefings when the issue was hardly raised by synod fathers during the three week meeting.

The comments from the Pope and now Cardinal Rodriguez contradict those made by Father Krzysztof Charamsa, a homosexual Polish priest who was dismissed as an official at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith after publicly announcing his homosexuality just ahead of the Synod on the Family last October. He told Italian television he had "never met a gay lobby in the Vatican".

Also in the interview with Heraldo de Honduras, Cardinal Rodriguez was asked whether the Pope would ever support same-sex “marriage.” 

“No,” he replied. “We must understand that there are things that can be reformed and others cannot. The natural law cannot be reformed. We can see how God has designed the human body, the body of the man and the body of a woman to complement each other and transmit life. The contrary is not the plan of creation. There are things that cannot be changed."

The cardinal also tried to reassure readers there would be “no major” changes to doctrine as part of the Pope's reforms. We should not expect there will be major reforms in the doctrine of the Church. The reform is the organization of the curia.”

He also said there has not been much resistance to curial reform. “There is resistance of course, there are people who, precisely because they do not know the life of the Church, resist any changes.

“These, of course, are wrong attitudes,” he continued. “As I’ve said, to be able to understand the Church, we must see that it is not merely a human institution, it is humane-divine, it is natural and supernatural and, by consequence, there are things that do not really depend on what is human.”