New book claims most Vatican priests are gay

A new book claims 80 percent of Vatican priests are gay – although not necessarily sexually active – and details how they adhere to an unspoken code of the “closet”.

“Inside the Closet” will be released in eight languages across 20 countries next Wednesday – the same day as the Vatican conference on sexual abuse opens.

French journalist and author Frédéric Martel spent four years researching the book, which its British publisher Bloomsbury says is a “startling account of corruption and hypocrisy at the heart of the Vatican”.

Bloomsbury’s promotional material also says the book “reveals secrets” about celibacy, misogyny and plots against Pope Francis, and uncovers “a clerical culture of secrecy which starts in junior seminaries and continues right up to the Vatican itself”.

Martel, who is a former adviser to the French government, conducted 1,500 interviews while researching the book.

Those he interviewed included 41 cardinals, 52 bishops and monsignors, 45 papal ambassadors or diplomatic officials, 11 Swiss guards and more than 200 priests and seminarians.

Martel’s defenders say his book will reveal the problems of a dysfunctional clerical culture that is in denial about sex.

Others argue the timing of the book’s publication will once again unfairly conflate homosexuality with sexual abuse of children and intensify a witch hunt against gay priests.

Martel’s research is said to reveal that some gay priests accept their sexual orientation and a number maintain discreet long-term relationships. Apparently, some live more extreme double lives through casual encounters and the use of male prostitutes. Others are in denial about their sexuality.

He is also said to argue that the intra-church battles of recent decades should be read through a closeted gay paradigm.

Those with knowledge of “In the Closet” say Martel reserves his harshest criticism for senior figures in the Church who have attacked homosexuality yet are secretly gay.

News category: World.

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