Former Pope Benedict claims his biggest victory was the destruction of the Vatican ‘gay lobby’

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has said that although his papacy wasn’t the best he at least managed to break up the ‘gay lobby’.

In book-length interview with journalist, Peter Seewald, called ‘The Last Conversations’, the former head of the Catholic Church said that he didn’t see his time in charge as a failure because he stopped a group of influential clerics from promoting a homosexual agenda.

Pope Benedict XVI was in charge of the church from 2005 to 2013.

Although Popes usually serve until death, Benedict resigned amid whispers of internal warring within the church, ill health, and serious corruption scandals.

He was replaced by Pope Francis, who he admits he initially doubted, but who was seen as a more ‘liberal’ image in the media. Pope Francis has repeatedly ruled out reforms on LGBT issues.

Extracts of the interview with German-born Pope Benedict, born Joseph Ratzinger, will be released from today (Thursday, August 8) and will detail how he battled with and claims to have destroyed the church’s internal ‘gay lobby’.

The term ‘gay lobby’ is often used to describe a shadowy network of high-ranking closeted gay officials within the Vatican; though anti-LGBT Catholics frequently conflate it with alleged paedophile sex abuse networks.

The extracts will feature in Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, who acquired exclusive rights.

It’s been suggested that Benedict played this down in his memoirs, claiming the group was “a clique of up to five men” who held high ranks and influence within the church.

He claims that he managed to remove the group from power.

However, any suggestion that the Catholic Church has entirely purged its ranks of closeted gay men is likely to be met with extreme scepticism.

Pope Francis last acknowledged the ‘gay lobby’ in 2013, when he admitted: “There is talk of a gay lobby and it’s true, it exists. We have to see what can be done.”

A former high-ranking Catholic priest claimed last year that the Vatican is funding therapy to ‘cure’ the homosexuality of gay clergymen, and even operates its own gay cure clinic.

He named The Venturini Convent as the location of the ‘gay cure’ centre for Catholic priests.

Incredibly Father Gianluigi Pasto, 71, the head of the convent, confirmed at the time that it deals with “problems connected to sex”, but insisted it did not deal with gay priests or child abusers.