Writer claims cardinals in Vatican closets are part of a 'gay subculture'
In what was a turbulent week in Rome, the most "lively" news conference came when journalist Federic Martel, a onetime adviser to former French PM Michel Rocard, presented his sensational new book, Inside The Vatican Closet, that claims to reveal a huge "gay subculture in the Vatican".
Throughout the week, right-wing traditional Catholic sources (LifeSiteNews, Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child et al) did not miss an opportunity to stress their view that the Catholic Church's sexual abuse issue was the fault of gay priests. There has been a lot of "conflation" between a priest's homosexual orientation and clerical sex abuse.
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Experts, victims and researchers repeatedly point out that there are no grounds to keep making this assertion. Clerical sex abuse can and is carried out by heterosexuals and homosexuals. Sexual orientation is not the key.
Martel's book, however, is not about sex abuse. It is, rather a "systematic, huge investigation into the 'homosexual question' in the Catholic Church". After four years researching in 30 countries and the Holy See, and having spoken to 1,500 people (including 41 cardinals, 52 bishops, 45 nunzios, 11 Swiss Guards and many priests), Martel believes a majority of cardinals, bishops and priests working in the Holy See are gay, many of them actively so.
"People like to talk about a gay lobby in the Holy See but we are dealing with the exact opposite - numerous isolated individuals who hide their homosexuality... they are not an organised minority, rather they are a large and silent majority. The majority of the College of Cardinals, 50 shades of gay, are homophiles, often faithful to their vow of chastity and not sexually active," says Martel, adding: "The question is not to understand if Cardinal A or Bishop B is homosexual - in many cases he is - but the point is that... by imposing chastity on priests, banning them from marrying, the church has become sociologically homosexualised."
In the church, being gay leads to a double-life of constant subterfuge and hypocrisy - in an institution which persists with the flat-earth belief that the practise of homosexuality is a sin. That climate of secrecy, argues Martel, has created a subculture in which gay priests protect one another.
Such secrecy, he argues, has also made it difficult to deal with abuse because many bishops, themselves often gay, have been loath to report a priest for fear an investigation might ask questions about himself. People who committed crimes were protected by the culture of secrecy.
During a meeting with the resident foreign press corps in Rome last week, Martel's views were robustly challenged by colleagues who felt he could not prove his allegations. Holding up his mobile phone to display the number of a gay priest friend, Martel said: "Look, I know 27 gay priests who worked with me [on the book], priests who live and work everyday in the Vatican. They have had sex with a lot of people. They have been courted, flirted with by cardinals over the last 30 years - they are my proof. I am sure of what I am saying. For example, I can tell you about 12 key advisers - all cardinals - to the pontificate of John Paul II. I know that six of these people slept with one of my contacts."