July 22, 2013 ( – Uruguay's largest-circulation newspaper, El País, is reporting that local sources within the Catholic Church have confirmed recent reports regarding the past homosexual conduct of the pope's recent appointment to lead the troubled “Vatican bank,” the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR).

The sources consulted by the newspaper appear to strongly confirm claims made by the Italian newspaper L'Espresso that Monsignor Battista Ricca, a former Vatican diplomat, was well-known for homosexual conduct during his interim management of the Holy See's diplomatic office in Uruguay from 1999 to 2001. 

Sources within the Catholic Church in Uruguay told El Pais that “it's totally true,” in the words of the newspaper. The newspaper added that the unnamed sources “believed that this person could only have been recommended to the pope for a post in bad faith.”


The newspaper also indicates that the general secretary of the Uruguayan bishops' conference, Bishop Heriberto Bodeant, has accepted the reports as true, and speculates that “perhaps there was a change in attitude or he was simply careful and didn't cause more trouble.”

“Apparently the only time that something came out was here,” said Bodeant, according to El Pais.  “If he was asked to change his conduct, either he did it or he took care not to create more scandalous situations, (and) that permitted him to continue in the Church.”

One of Rome’s best-known Vaticanisti (reporters specializing in the Vatican) Sandro Magister staked his 25-year career on a blockbuster report naming Ricca as having been sexually involved with a man during his time at the nunciature in Uruguay (1999).  According to the report, Ricca caused further scandal by insisting that this friend of his be given a job and room at the nunciature.  Magister writes that the nuncio there reported the situation to Vatican authorities but the situation remained.

Magister adds that after subsequent scandals involved with his sex life, Ricca was transferred first to the nunciature of Trinidad and Tobago, where he remained until 2004. And from there he was moved to the Vatican where in 2006 he was placed in charge of the houses where bishops reside on their visits to Rome, including the residence where Pope Francis now lives.  

Magister said that the information was concealed from Francis in what is “the cruelest and most subtle deception since he was elected pope.”

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi has responded to the reports by L'Espresso and its highly respected reporter, Sandro Magister, claiming the reports “aren't credible.”

L'Espresso, replied to Fr. Lombardi’s comments saying: “It can be added that the Vatican authorities, instead of making up improbable and ad-lib denials, could verify the trustworthiness of all that was published by L'Espresso by simply consulting the exhaustive documentation in their possession on the affair, in particular that related to his time in the Montevideo nunciature. Further documentation is available from the Uruguayan authorities, from security forces to fire brigades. Not to mention the numerous bishops, priests, religious, laymen in Uruguay who were direct witnesses of the scandal and are ready to speak.”