Vatican plotters ‘planted fake brain tumour story’ to derail Pope on gay rights

A senior Cardinal has suggested that anti-gay conservative forces within the Vatican were responsible for planting a hoax story that the Pope has a brain tumour.

The Pontiff has been increasingly under pressure recently – issuing an unprecedented apology earlier this month, after a number of scandals over homosexuality rocked the Catholic Church.

Amid the instability and raucous surrounding the scandals and allegations of a Vatican ‘gay lobby’, claims were planted in an Italian newspaper suggesting that the Pope is being treated for a brain tumour.

The Vatican has promptly quashed the story – but rumours are now swirling that it was actually planted by the Pope’s opponents within the Church, who were hoping to call the Pope’s judgement into question and derail any movement on homosexuality at the Synod.

German cardinal Walter Kasper told the Telegraph: “It’s evident to me that some people don’t like this Pope. Maybe they were trying to influence us [in the Synod].

“Certain people, both inside and outside the Church, are nervous about the outcome of the Synod.”

The Vatican’s own newspaper L’Osservatore Romano has also reported the claims, adding that “The moment [was] chosen reveals an attempt to raise a cloud of dust in order to manipulate.”

It comes amid a hurricane of controversies in the Vatican.

At the start of the month, the Church’s three-week long annual Synod was disrupted when an official in the Vatican’s doctrine office came out as gay – and was promptly dismissed from his post.

There have also been a number of shocking insights to the Vatican this month – with one insider suggesting that a large number of priests are gay, while a second report shed light on the Church’s in-house ‘gay cure’ clinic for priests.

There is also a dispute over the Pope’s meeting with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis – with Davis’ lawyers, the Pope’s spokespeople and conservative bishops spinning three entirely different versions of events.