Caught on Film: Catholic Priests, in Gay Clubs, Having Casual Sex
Italy, a devoutly Catholic country, has been shocked at reports of Catholic priests being filmed having sex in gay clubs by a magazine reporter, a July 23 article at U.K. newspaper The Daily Mail reported.
The reporter, accompanied by a "gay accomplice," spent two weeks at gay night spots. In the course of that time, he reportedly filmed three priests having sexual encounters. Two of the priests caught on video were reportedly Italian; one was French.
The Daily Mail article noted that in the wake of the pedophile priest scandal, the Catholic Church cracked down on gays, even though the great majority of child molesters identify as heterosexual. The church ordered that American seminaries not accept candidates with "deep seated homosexual tendencies." Church officials have also issued a string of proclamations about gays, saying that they are "disordered," and that they should lead celibate lives. The church has campaigned tirelessly against legal parity for gay and lesbian families. Church officials have also claimed that gay sex is "inherently evil," although the church also holds that gays do not "choose" their sexual orientation.
The sensational claims made by the magazine include a claim that one of the three priests not only had sex with the reporter's "gay accomplice," but that the priest also donned his ceremonial vestments for the encounter, at the "accomplice's" request. That encounter, the magazine claimed, was caught on video by a hidden camera.
The video footage that the magazine claimed to have in its possession was not made available at the same time as advance word on the upcoming article, which was announced via email, but Panorama said that the footage would be released.
The journalist who captured the footage works for Panorama Magazine, which is one the holdings of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The former editor of Catholic newspaper Avvenire stepped down last year after a series of explosive articles in Italian newspaper Il Giornale, also owned by Berlusconi, that purported to "out" him as gay.
The subject of those articles, Dino Boffo, had previously criticized Berlusconi, then 71, who reportedly had frolicked with expensive prostitutes and teenaged girls and attended a party for a young negligee model.
The new shockwave was not intended to create scandal for its own sake, according to the magazine. "This was a two week investigation and was not aimed at creating a scandal but showing that a certain section of the clergy behaves very differently," said Panorama's editor, Giorgio Mule.
On July 23, one highly placed church official, the Vicar of Rome, said at the Diocese of Rome website that gay priests ought to leave the clergy. "No one is forcing them to stay in the priesthood to exploit the benefits," read the message at the Diocese of Rome site, reported Bloomberg.com that same day. "If they are coherent, they should come out into the open."
Earlier this month, a Catholic priest was charged with embezzling church funds to pay for the services of male prostitutes. Kevin Gray, a 64-year-old priest at Sacred Heart church in Waterbury, Connecticut, turned himself in to authorities after an internal investigation indicated that Gray had stolen more than one million dollars.