The Vatican? It is Sodom. While in the Vatican, Pope Francis invited Church leaders to the summit to reflect on the abuses of priests, the book Sodoma is published simultaneously in 20 countries and in 8 languages by French journalist Frédéric Martel who for four years with the help of dozens of assistants interviewed nearly 1,500 people in the Vatican and in 30 different countries (including: 41 cardinals, 52 bishops and monsignors, 45 apostolic nuncios and foreign ambassadors, 11 Swiss guards and over 200 priests and seminarians).
A new and more explosive “Vatileaks” (documented by “four hundred hours of recordings, eighty notebooks of interviews and several hundred photos and selfies of cardinals) written not only to name and denounce the double lives of priests. As the author explains, more than 80 percent of the Vatican’s prelates are gay (or “of the parish” according to the Vatican slang). This was not a mystery for the interviewees, to be clarified remain only the “50 shades of gay” that is, whether they are ‘practitioners’, ‘homophiles’, ‘initiates’, ‘unstraights’, ‘mundane’, ‘versatile’, ‘questioning’, ‘closeted’.
Martel outlines a pattern, a “social system” that is a fundamental key to understanding all the latest scandals, from cases of pedophilia to the Boffo case, from harassment on Swiss guards to the fight between gay prelates but conservatives and homophobes and Pope Francis and the coming out of Monsignor Charamsa at Ratzinger’s withdrawal. Here are the main points of the book…
1. It’s like the Fight Club
The Vatican and Sodom is like in the Fight Club, and the first rule of Fight Club is: do not talk about the Fight Club! Being gay in the clergy is part of a sort of norm. “In the Vatican, being homosexual is possible, easy, ordinary, but it is forbidden to talk about it, give it visibility”. A seminarian explains: “As long as celibacy of priests will continue to be in force, the Church will always welcome a homosexual priest more favourably than a straight one”.
The priesthood was, above all until the eighties, the ideal escape route for young homosexuals. “Homosexuality is one of the keys to their vocation,” writes Martel. It nourishes the Church, which counts fewer and fewer orders. “Every year, in France, eight hundred priests die; less than a hundred are ordered”. After sexual liberation much has changed. Two seminarians confirm that even today: “to induce young people undecided about their inclinations to enter Catholic institutions are the rule of celibacy and the perspective of life among children. Finding themselves, for the first time, far from the country, without family, in a strictly male context and in a strongly homoerotic universe, they begin to understand their own singularity.”
3. The basic rules of the system
One: the number of homosexuals increases by climbing the ecclesiastical hierarchy. “In the College of Cardinals and in the Vatican the preferential path would seem to come to fruition; homosexuality becomes the rule, heterosexuality is the exception.” Two: rigidity always hides something, as Pope Francis has repeatedly said. “The more a prelate is vehement against gays, the stronger his homophobic obsession, the more likely he is insincere and his vehemence hides something.” Three: “The rumours about the homosexuality of a cardinal or a prelate are often spread by homosexuals themselves secretly, who attack their liberal opponents in this way. These are decisive weapons used in the Vatican by gays against gays.”
4. The reason for the abuse
While Ratzinger attributed homosexuality to the cause of child abuse, Bergoglio’s line is that the cause lies in clericalism, the abuse of power. Martel offers an explanation of the “cover” of abuses, the fear of being discovered: “behind most cases of sexual abuse there are priests and bishops who have protected the aggressors because of their homosexuality and for fear that this may be revealed in the event of a scandal. Because Pope Benedict XVI, was aware of many sexual scandals,” asks Martel, “Why did he not pass them on to the courts? Talking about others means taking the risk that we are talking about you.”
5. Vatican out: the Termini station
It is the place of male prostitution, in the Capital. “The relationship between homosexuals with escorts and with the payment of Italian priests is a phenomenon of vast proportions”. Cost of benefits: 50-60 Euro, which go up to 100-200 if the prelate is wealthy. “Prostitutes” are often immigrants. “Among the Arab priests and escorts”, in particular “two sexual miseries are mated: the enormous sexual frustration of Catholic priests finds an echo in the constraint of Islam, which makes heterosexual acts difficult for a young Muslim of marriage”. The Carabinieri confirm Martel’s many cases of “revenge porn” among the priests.
6. Vatican in: assistants and secretaries
“Do not look for the companions of cardinals and bishops,” says Martel. “Ask your secretaries, assistants or guardians instead, and you will know the truth from their reaction.” According to the author “in the Church, in a strongly constrained universe, the priests live their loving passions and, in doing so, they are renewing the genre and imagining new extended families”. Cohabitations with secretaries, assistants, invented “relatives” are numerous.
7. The Popes
Martel reconstructs that all the popes, at least from Paul VI onwards, know the homophilia is widespread in the Vatican, and that at least ten of the fourteen reasons why Ratzinger has resigned have to do with homosexuality (and only partly for health reasons). A priest of the Curia who had worked under Pope Wojtyla explains to him that “Paul VI had condemned homosexuality, but only with John Paul II was a real war against gays (…) Irony of the story: the majority of the actors of this boundless campaign against homosexuals were personally involved.”
8. Who am I to judge?
The sentence pronounced in July 2013 by Pope Francis, on a flight between Rio and Rome, is the subject of analysis in the book of Martel, who wonders what the position of Bergoglio about the homosexuals in the Church was. The conclusion is that he is a traditionalist pope, but certainly with a more peaceful relationship with sexuality that allows him not to have moral rigidity, as opposed to Ratzinger, and to condemn not so much the homophilia but the “double lives” of prelates. In the debate on civil unions in 2016, he did not rule against it, he remained silent.
“AIDS has raged in the Italian episcopate in the eighties and nineties. Many priests, monsignors and cardinals have died”. Some of them have “confessed” their HIV status and AIDS in confession. “Other priests received the diagnosis during the annual blood test, mandatory for Vatican personnel (but this obligation does not apply to monsignors, nuncios, bishops and cardinals). The exam includes a test for AIDS; according to my information, some priests would have been dismissed after the positive diagnosis”.
10. The 5 Star Movement
“According to the Italian press and my sources, this populist party, which includes several homosexuals in secret among its leaders, would have negotiated a Machiavellian pact with the Vatican and the CEI: abstention on adoption (for gay couples, during the approval of civil unions) by its elected representatives in exchange for the support of the Church to its candidate in the municipal elections in Rome (Virginia Raggi, mayor since June 2016).”
- The cardinals use very few emails.
- In the Vatican two cardinals are called ‘Platinette’ and ‘La mongolfiera’ (The hot air balloon). The American cardinal Raymond Leo Burke is called ‘mad’.
- Swiss guards cannot open profiles on social networks.
- The former Monsignor Charamsa has become a militant for the independence of Catalonia.
- Even if “all means of communication, telephones and computers are strictly filtered and controlled”, “every evening Grindr is active within the Vatican”.
- The paintings that depict Saint Sebastian are much loved in the Vatican, because “he proposes all the codes of gay iconography”.
- Pope Ratzinger read the Little Prince very much.
- Father Georg Ganswein, his particular secretary, initially refused to give Ratzinger his new cell phone number. Now the Pope emeritus would affectionately call him “Ciorcio”.