One of the Swiss Guard’s former commandants has confirmed “from personal experience” that a “gay lobby” exists within the Vatican.

Elmar Mäder, who was the head of the Swiss Guard from 2002-2008, spoke in an interview with the Swiss weekly Schweiz am Sonntag, and said he knew the “gay lobby” existed.

He was asked about reports from earlier this month that a member of the Swiss Guard said he had been the subject of sexual advances from a Catholic official.

To the questions, he responded: “I know from personal experience that the gay lobby exists,” saying that gay people within the Vatican were part of a “secret society”.

He went so far as to say that a “security risk” arises from the gay members of the Vatican being more loyal to one another than they are to the church.

Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica last year published an article claiming that Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to resign was in part finalised by a Vatican report showing that the Holy See was affected by outside influences, including a “gay lobby”.

The Vatican denied these claims.

Pope Francis, however, admitted to the existence of the “gay lobby” inside the Vatican’s secretive administration, the Curia.

“In the Curia, there are truly some saints, but there is also a current of corruption,”  Pope Francis is quoted as having said.