Leading Vatican consultant accused of sexual abuse

A consultant who once helped the Vatican craft guidelines to keep gay men from being ordained as priests has been accused of sexually abusing young men.

European media have relayed accusations from four different men against Msgr Tony Anatrella, the Religion News Service reported.

Only one of the men agreed to be identified by his real name.

Accusations against the French priest and therapist first surfaced more than a decade ago.

For years, seminaries and monasteries around France sent students and novices to Msgr Anatrella if their superiors decided they were struggling with homosexuality.

It has been alleged that Msgr Anatrella engaged in various sex acts with young men during counselling sessions in his Paris office.

These activities allegedly occurred up until a few years ago.

The Catholic Church in France has been embroiled in a crisis this year over charges that senior churchmen shielded priests who had been reported for abusing children.

In a statement this month, Paris archdiocese acknowledged complaints against the Monsignor.

The complaints were forwarded on behalf of alleged victims by other priests.

But the complainants to the archdiocese wished to remain anonymous, so the archdiocese said it could not act further.

However it encouraged complainants to make contact with the archdiocese and civil authorities.

In 2005, Msgr Anatrella helped the Vatican craft guidelines aimed at keeping gay men out of the priesthood.

He provided a long list of warning signs that should alert seminary staff to the possibility that a seminarian is gay.

It is unclear how many of these current accounts of abuse may also be the ones that surfaced in 2006.

That year, Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris spoke of a gay lobby working against the priest.

Msgr Anatrella has so far not responded to the latest allegations.

He remains a consultant to the pontifical councils for the family and for health care ministry.


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