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A sensational new book mines the Catholic Church’s sexual secrets.


              English edition                                                                                            French edition

The Vatican’s Gay Overlords

A sensational new book mines the Catholic Church’s sexual secrets.

Catholic Church cover-up of sex abuse linked to secret gay culture in Vatican, book claims on eve of papal summit.
Source :

Decades of sex abuse cover-ups within the Catholic Church are intrinsically linked to the fact that so many cardinals, bishops and priests are gay, the author of a new book on homosexuality within the Vatican said on Wednesday.

Bishops are so terrified of being outed as gay that they have been resistant to reporting priests accused of raping and molesting children, said Frédéric Martel, the author of In the Closet of the Vatican.

The claims were made as victims of clerical sex abuse demanded a policy of zero tolerance from the Vatican and Pope Francis likened critics of the Church to “the devil”.

The book, which alleges that a majority of Catholic clergy are homosexual, will be published in several languages in 20 countries on Thursday (Feb 21, 2019).

It coincides with Pope Francis opening an unprecedented, four-day conference at the Vatican on how to combat the scourge of sex abuse.

“Abuses are protected by this culture of secrecy. The two things are intrinsically linked,” Mr Martel, a journalist and sociologist, said during a presentation of the book in Rome.

“Bishops may not be abusers themselves. But they protect priests because they are terrified that if there's a scandal or an investigation or a trial, then their own homosexuality may be revealed.”

There had been thousands of cases around the world of bishops protecting priests who molested children, he said.

While many gay priests are sexually active, many others are in denial. “They are repressed, they live a life of hypocrisy and schizophrenia – a double life,” said Mr Martel.

“Everyone is protecting his own little secret. It’s not one big closet – it’s lots of individuals in lots of little closets.”
by Peter Saunders, a British victim of clerical sex abuse

He quotes a priest who estimates that 80% of Vatican clergy are gay – although Mr Martel said he has no way of verifying that figure.

The book is the product of four years of research in which the author interviewed 41 cardinals, 50 bishops, 45 Vatican ambassadors and 11 Swiss Guards, nine of them retired but three of whom are still serving in the Pope’s personal protection corps.

One of the leading figures in this hidden world was Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, a Colombian cardinal, who in public was stridently anti-gay and pro-family but in private slept with male prostitutes, according to the book.

Once head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, he died in 2008. “The more homophobic they are, the more likely they are to be gay. That’s the number one rule of the Vatican,” said the author.

He also claims that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, while not actively gay, is a “repressed homophile” and homosexually inclined.

Homosexual men are “the great silent majority” in the Catholic Church. “It’s what I define as fifty shades of gay,” said Mr Martel.

Some are celibate, others are in monogamous relationships, while others are highly promiscuous.

Nearly 200 bishops, archbishops and other senior Vatican officials will discuss the themes of responsibility, accountability and transparency during a series of workshops and lectures.

But victims of clerical sex abuse say that agenda is inadequate and called for concrete reforms instead of more lofty rhetoric and vague promises.

“We’ve heard a lot of words from Pope Francis since he was elected but now is the time to do the right thing,” said Peter Isely, an American who was abused by a priest as a boy.

“We want zero tolerance. Any priest who has sexually assaulted a child should be removed from the priesthood and the same goes for bishops or cardinals who cover up for them."

“That needs to be written into the universal law of the Church. It needs to be an infallible doctrine – and Pope Francis can order it with the stroke of a pen,” said Mr Isely, from the survivors’ group Ending Clergy Abuse. “What’s the hold-up? Why doesn’t he do this?”

Several survivors met with the organising committee of the Vatican summit on Wednesday, including cardinals from the US and India.

Phil Saviano, whose story of abuse by a priest was portrayed in the Oscar-winning film Spotlight, urged the Vatican to release the names of predatory priests so that children can be protected from them.

Juan Carlos Cruz, a Chilean victim of abuse, said: “The culture of cover-up needs to end."

The Pope did not meet the victims. Instead, he likened critics of the Church to the devil.

People who spend their lives accusing the Church of wrongdoing are “the friends, cousins and relatives of the devil,” he said during an audience at the Vatican.


Gay French writer Frederic Martel gestures during an interview with Associated Press, in Paris, Friday, Feb. 15, 2019. In the explosive book “In the Closet of the Vatican” author Frederic Martel describes a gay subculture at the Vatican and calls out the hypocrisy of Catholic bishops and cardinals who in public denounce homosexuality but in private lead double lives.

Bombshell book alleges a Vatican gay subculture, hypocrisy
Source :
By Nicole Winfield and Angela Charlton
February 15, 2019

PARIS — A gay French writer has lifted the lid on what he calls one of the world’s largest gay communities, the Vatican, estimating that most of its prelates are homosexually inclined and attributing much of the current crisis in the Catholic Church to an internal struggle.

In the explosive book, “In the Closet of the Vatican,” author Frederic Martel describes a gay subculture at the Vatican and calls out the hypocrisy of Catholic bishops and cardinals who in public denounce homosexuality but in private lead double lives.

Aside from the subject matter, the book is astonishing for the access Martel had to the inner sanctum of the Holy See. Martel writes that he spent four years researching it in 30 countries, including weeks at a time living inside the Vatican walls. He says the doors were opened by a key Vatican gatekeeper and friend of Pope Francis who was the subject of the pontiff’s famous remark about gay priests, “Who am I to judge?”

In an interview Friday in a Paris hotel, Martel said he didn’t tell his subjects he was writing about homosexuality in the Vatican. But he said it should have been obvious to them since he is a gay man who was researching the inner world of the Vatican and has written about homosexuality before. He said it was easier for him, as a gay foreigner, to gain the trust of those inside the Vatican than it would have been for an Italian journalist or Vatican expert.

“If you’re heterosexual it’s even harder. You don’t have the codes,” he told The Associated Press. “If you’re a woman, even more so.”

Martel says he conducted nearly 1,500 in-person interviews with 41 cardinals, 52 bishops or monsignors, and 45 Vatican and foreign ambassadors, many of whom are quoted at length and in on-the-record interviews that he says were recorded. Martel said he was assisted by 80 researchers, translators, fixers and local journalists, as well as a team of 15 lawyers. The 555-page book is being published simultaneously in eight languages in 20 countries, many bearing the title “Sodom.”

The Vatican didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Martel appears to want to bolster Francis’ efforts at reforming the Vatican by discrediting his biggest critics and removing the secrecy and scandal that surrounds homosexuality in the church. Church doctrine holds that gays are to be treated with respect and dignity, but that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.”

“Francis knows that he has to move on the church’s stance, and that he will only be able to do this at the cost of a ruthless battle against all those who use sexual morality and homophobia to conceal their own hypocrisies and double lives,” Martel writes.

But the book’s Feb. 21 publication date coincides with the start of Francis’ summit of church leaders on preventing the sexual abuse of minors, a crisis that is undermining his papacy. The book isn’t about abuse, but the timing of its release could fuel the narrative, embraced by conservatives and rejected by the gay community, that the abuse scandal has been caused by homosexuals in the priesthood.

Martel is quick to separate the two issues. But he echoes the analysis of the late abuse researcher and psychotherapist A.W. Richard Sipe that the hidden sex lives of priests has created a culture of secrecy that allowed the abuse of minors to flourish. According to that argument, since many prelates in positions of authority have their own hidden sexual skeletons, they have no interest in denouncing the criminal pedophiles in their midst lest their own secrets be revealed.

“It’s a problem that it’s coming out at the same time (as the summit),” Martel acknowledged in the AP interview, adding that the book was finished last year but its release was delayed for translation. “But at the same time it’s, alas, the key to the problem. It’s both not the subject, and the subject.”

The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author of “Building a Bridge” about how the Catholic Church should reach out more to the LGBT community, said that based on the excerpts he had read, Martel’s book “makes a convincing case that in the Vatican many priests bishops and even cardinals are gay, and that some of them are sexually active.”

But Martin added that the book’s sarcastic tone belies its fatal flaw. “His extensive research is buried under so much gossip and innuendo that it makes it difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction.”

“There are many gay priests, bishops and cardinals in ministry today in the church,” Martin said. “But most of them are, like their straight counterparts, remaining faithful to a life of chastity and celibacy.”

In the course of his research, Martel said he came to several conclusions about the reality of the Holy See that he calls the “rules,” chief among them that the more obviously gay the priest, bishop or cardinal, the more vehement his anti-gay rhetoric.

Martel says his aim is not to “out” living prelates, though he makes some strong insinuations about those who are “in the parish,” a euphemism he learns is code for gay clergy.

Martin said Martel “traffics in some of the worst gay stereotypes” by using sarcastic and derogatory terms, such as when he writes of Francis’ plight: “Francis is said to be ‘among the wolves.’ It’s not quite true: he’s among the queens.”

Martel moves from one scandal to another — from the current one over ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington to the priest-friendly gay migrant prostitute scene near Rome’s train station. He traces the reasons behind Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation, and devotes a whole chapter to the cover-up of the Mexican founder of the Legion of Christ, the pedophile Rev. Marcial Maciel. In each, Martel parses the scandal through the lens of the gay-friendly or homophobic prelates he says were involved.

Equal parts investigative journalism and salacious gossip, Martel paints a picture of an institution almost at war with itself, rife with rumor and with leaders struggling to rationalize their own sexual appetites and orientations with official church teachings that require chastity and its unofficial tradition of hostility toward gays.

“Never, perhaps, have the appearances of an institution been so deceptive,” Martel writes. “Equally deceptive are the pronouncements about celibacy and the vows of chastity that conceal a completely different reality.”

Martel is not a household name in France, but is known in the French LGBT community as an advocate for gay rights. Those familiar with his work view it as rigorous, notably his 90-minute weekly show on public radio station France Culture called “Soft Power.” Recent episodes include investigations into global digital investment and the U.S.-China trade war.

As a French government adviser in the 1990s, he played a prominent role in legislation allowing civil unions, which not only allowed gay couples to formalize their relationships and share assets, but also proved hugely popular among heterosexual French couples increasingly skeptical of marriage.

His nonfiction books include a treatise on homosexuality in France over the past 50 years called “The Pink and the Black” (a sendup of Stendhal’s classic “The Red and the Black”), as well as an investigation of the internet industry and a study of culture in the United States.

Martel attributes the high percentage of gays in the clergy to the fact that up until the homosexual liberation of the 1970s, gay Catholic men had few options. “So these pariahs became initiates and made a strength of a weakness,” he writes. That analysis helps explain the dramatic fall in vocations in recent decades, as gay Catholic men now have other options, not least to live their lives openly, even in marriage.

Martel said no special interests financed the book, other than his advance from the publisher.


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