Vatican City: A Latin American group which quoted the pope saying that there is a "gay lobby" in the Vatican confirmed the contents of the pontiff`s speech on Wednesday, but said they were unofficial and not for publication.
The Latin American and Caribbean Confederation of Religious Men and Women (CLAR) said it regretted the publication on the Catholic Reflection and Liberation website of comments made by Pope Francis during a private meeting regarding rumours circulating within the secretive state.
"In the Curia (the Vatican`s administration)... there is a current of corruption. There is talk of a `gay lobby` and it`s true, it exists. We have to see what can be done," the 76-year-old pontiff was quoted as having said.
CLAR said on Wednesday it "profoundly regrets the publication of a text making reference to the conversation with the pope", as "no recording was made" and the quotes were jotted down "from memory".
The notes from the meeting were then published by Reflection and Liberation, though "no request for the authorisation to publish was made".
"Clearly we cannot be sure the words we have attributed to the pope in the text are specific, only the general sense," it said.
The Vatican admitted an "internal communication" problem linked to Francis`s tendency to ad-lib.
The pope`s reported comments referred to a "gay lobby" inside the Curia, allegedly exposed during a leaks scandal.
Back in February, Italian media claimed that a secret report by cardinals investigating the leaks included allegations of corruption and blackmail attempts against gay Vatican clergymen, and on the other hand, favouritism based on gay relationships.
At the time, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said the reports were "conjectures, fictions and opinions".
Vatican expert Michael Sean Winters, who writes for the National Catholic Reporter, told Italy`s La Stampa daily on Wednesday that a group of gay clerics in the Vatican was trying to push its own agenda.
"The homosexual clerics are often amongst the most conservative and traditionalist, decidedly against topics such as gay unions or equal rights. The problem is sometimes they unite to favour their own interests, and this is not acceptable to the pope," he said.
"Francis wants to reform the curia, to free it from all the lobbies and the currents which prevent it from working as it should," he said.