The 89-year old retired pope Benedict XVI will release a book on his papacy on Friday that is expected to unveil the existence of the so-called “gay lobby” in the Vatican.

This was a clique of five men that had forged an alliance cemented by their common sexual orientation, but that worked together to advance their own objectives rather than advocating for gay believers. They used blackmail to attack certain priests and protect others.

Benedict sees their removal from power as the most significant achievement of his papacy.

Benedict resigned amidst the so-called “Vatileaks” scandal, when his butler released documents and personal letters alleging corruption and a power struggle in the Vatican. At the time, Italian media speculated this was part of the standoff with the prelates who wanted to discredit Benedict.

The official line is that Benedict’s resigned due to his frail health; he was fitted with a pacemaker in 1997.

In an interview with the Italian daily Corriera della Sera on Thursday, the first retired Pope in seven centuries also concedes he was not the most able administrator of the church. He thinks of himself as more a spiritual leader and intellectual.

Benedict also admits he was both surprised and unsure about his succession by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio but he is content of the choice. He said that he was touched that he tried to contact him before he went out to the loggia. He also appreciates the significance of te first Jesuit and Latin American Pope.

The book takes the form of an interview with German journalist Peter Seewald and will be first published in Italian and German, followed by English in November.

(AP, Catholic Herald, The Guardian, NY Post)