Meanwhile, some gay clerics were outgrowing the “particular friendships” that had long been part of monastic life and joining the sexual revolution. Some such stories are better substantiated than others. Castel Sant'Angelo is 2.4 km from the accommodation, while Campo de' Fiori is 2.5 km away. Erected over the tomb of St. Peter the Apostle, it is the second largest religious building (after Yamoussoukro Basilica) in Christendom. Now there’s nobody.”), Once you make a connection, it’s possible to use your monastery cell for sexual assignations, as long as you don’t make much noise. This is the country that tolerated the sexual escapades and serial frauds of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi with scarcely a hint of protest from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. His response, delivered with casual humor and punctuated by shrugs and smiles, was as follows: “So much has been written about the gay lobby. One day at the Vatican, this layman was amazed to see the dancer out of context, dressed in the uniform of a security guard. Gay clerics often fail to help one another, he says, for the same reason that no one tried to help him the night that he was robbed: solidarity entails the risk of being outed. "We know for certain that St. Helen transported the nails used to crucify Jesus and a portion of his cross, to a church near here," said Guerra. That at least was the contention of the provocative gay French writer Roger Peyrefitte, whose 1976 allegations about Paul VI caused such a stir that Paul took to the balcony of St. Peter’s to denounce the “horrible and slanderous” accusations. Between 20 and 60 percent of all Catholic priests are gay, according to one estimate cited by Donald B. Cozzens in his well-regarded The Changing Face of the Priesthood. He inspired Donatella Versace’s winter 2007 “clergyman collection.”) Perhaps the most vicious of Benedict’s nicknames is “La Maledetta.” The word means “cursed” in Italian, but the pun derives from the fact that the term means the exact opposite of Benedict’s own name in Italian, Benedetto, which means “blessed”—with a gender change achieved in the process. By closing this banner you consent to the use of cookies. A few small groups of gay Catholics in Rome operate publicly, but because anyone can come to their meetings, it can be risky for priests, especially Vatican officials, to be part of them. Naked but for the towel around his waist, a man of a certain age sat by himself, bent slightly forward as if praying, in a corner of the sauna at a gym in central Rome. By the 1970s, the center of gay life in Rome was a cruising area called Monte Caprino, on the Capitoline Hill. I still haven’t run into anyone in the Vatican who has shown me an identity card with ‘gay’ on it.” He pantomimed holding up such a card in his left hand and then went on: “When you find yourself with a person like that, you have to distinguish between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of somebody forming a lobby. We are all male here, so it’s inappropriate to say ‘her’ or to refer to other men with feminine pronouns.” The former priest says that “none of this instruction was about our behavior. Shipping and handling. The name "old St. Peter's Basilica" has been used since the construction of the current basilica to distinguish the two buildings. Among recent Popes, Benedict made the most concerted effort to sharpen Church doctrine on homosexuality, which he once called “a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil.” He tried to cull gays from clerical ranks, most notably in 2005, when men with known “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” were prohibited from being ordained, even if they were celibate. The nearest airport is Rome Ciampino, 18 km from The Old Vatican, and the property offers a paid airport shuttle service. He looked like a priest with whom I’d corresponded after mutual friends put us in touch, a man I had wanted to consult about gay clerics in the Vatican Curia. If you want to know more click here. There has been plenty of scandal, though. Sometimes talking to gay priests feels like reading stories by Borges. Emanuela Orlandi, the daughter of an employee at the Vatican, was just 15 years old when she went missing on her way to a music lesson back in 1983. As *National Catholic Reporter’*s John Allen, the dean of the American Vatican-watchers, told me, “There’s a kind of Catholic version of ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ that the Jesuits would be particularly noted for. Ad Choices. Especially for clerics who break the vow of celibacy, it is crucial to keep up appearances in the normal course of life. “When God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?” the Pope asked rhetorically. But I would never have the experience firsthand. “I’m afraid I don’t have any more time to talk.” He insisted on personally walking me out of the building, and as we passed along a grand hallway I remarked upon its beauty. “A certain part of the clergy feels that no one will care what they do if they are discreet,” says Marco Politi, a prominent Italian journalist and longtime Vatican correspondent, and the author of several books about the papacy and the Church. Ancient walls look cool. Visiting the official website of the Holy See one can browse: the Magisterium of the Supreme Pontiffs (from Pope Leo XIII to Pope Francis); the fundamental texts of Catholicism in various languages (the Sacred Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the documents of the Second Vatican Council and the Code of Canon Law); the documents of Dicasteries, Bodies and Institutions of the Roman Curia We left the sauna and, after further conversation, civil but stilted, went our separate ways. That said, “no one has sex” with other residents of his own monastery, a former monk told me, “because it is like a Big Brother house. Encircled by a 2-mile border with Italy, Vatican City … “There used to be so many seminarians—such beautiful men—who came to the bar, and we would even get hired to take parties to them in some of the religious houses. “I don’t see it,” he replied archly. This is the country where countless married women ignore their husbands’ dalliances with men. Tourists stop to kiss and touch them as they make their way up the 28 marble steps on their knees. Written by Delia Gallagher, CNN Rome. The priest told the congregation that this story was a challenge. When we were alone, I spoke his name, telling him mine. During the previous few days, I had heard a lot about this man. Furthermore, technical and analysis cookies from third parties may be used. The Papal Residence . “To me, other hallways are ‘beautiful.’ ” Was this an innocent remark, or a coded answer to my question? The priest was embarrassed: to have been chanced upon at this place; to have had his small evasions revealed. The Catholic priesthood’s contemporary gay cultural memory begins in the middle of the last century. Though no solid evidence has ever emerged, it is treated as common knowledge by many in Rome, who cite stereotypes galore, including his fussy fashion sense (his ruby-red slippers, his “Valentino red” capes); his crusade to nail down why “homosexual actions” are “intrinsically disordered” (many closeted gay men, from Roy Cohn to Cardinal O’Brien, have made the most extraordinary efforts to condemn homosexuality); and his bromance with Archbishop Georg Gänswein, his longtime personal secretary. Maybe his plans had changed again. In June, those notes were published on a progressive Catholic Web site. How much do Vatican museum tickets cost? I had not met this man before, but as I entered the sauna, I thought I recognized him from photographs. Sign up for our essential daily brief and never miss a story. The most senior prelate to lose his job was Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh. Despite headlines about a powerful “gay lobby” within the Vatican, and a new Pope promising reform, the Catholic Church’s gay cardinals, monks, and other clergy inhabit a hidden netherworld. Ironic, effeminate self-mockery—allowing priests to exercise some limited rebellion against their own isolation and invisibility—is one form of clerical camp. In 2007, Monsignor Tommaso Stenico met a young man in an online chat room and invited him to his Vatican office, where their conversation—in which Stenico denied that gay sex was a sin, touched the man’s leg, and said, “You’re so hot”—was secretly videotaped and then broadcast on Italian television. They live in a closet that has no door. These things he made clear. In the Vatican office of a monsignor who I’d been told might have some firsthand knowledge concerning recent gay scandals in the Church, I asked, point-blank, “Are you gay?,” and he serenely answered, “No.” I replied, “I wonder, if a priest is homosexual—but does not participate in mainstream secular gay culture—could he say that he is not ‘gay’ and still think he’s telling the truth?” “What an interesting question,” the monsignor said, immediately standing up and gesturing me to the door. In 1965 the Vatican Council II was held in the city. During Holy Week, he went to a juvenile prison and washed the feet of inmates, including two girls and two Muslims. Faithfuls kneel on the newly restored Holy Stairs. Francis was quoted as saying, “The ‘gay lobby’ is mentioned, and it is true, it is there … We need to see what we can do.”. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. Sensationally, the newspaper suggested that Benedict’s concern about the alleged gay lobby was one reason he had suddenly resigned the papacy. I could understand his discomfort. Others have recounted stories of conversions and deeply emotional experiences from their climb. Vatican palace, papal residence in the Vatican north of St. Peter’s Basilica. In 2010, for the better part of a month, one straight journalist pretended to be the boyfriend of a gay man who acted as a “honeypot” and entrapped actual gay priests in various sexual situations. Contact the seller- opens in a new window or tab and request a shipping method to your location. I guess in one way I am,” he said, in the middle of a long and emotional narrative, before bringing the conversation to bedrock reality. "The Gospel of John recounts that Jesus went up these stairs several times," said Father Francesco Guerra, Rector of the Holy Stairs. The restoration also turned up a surprising discovery: deep grooves in the marble caused by centuries of wear and tear from the knees and feet of pilgrims. They are the ones who are always forgotten, and read out of the story from both sides.”. When I asked one archbishop if he had known that O’Brien was gay, however, the archbishop said he had not. When I asked the archbishop who among the other cardinals were O’Brien’s closest friends, he coldly answered, “I don’t think he had any.” Every man for himself, indeed. The priest who helps with the group of 50 raised his eyebrows when I repeated to him something an archbishop had told me. Free shipping on many items | Browse your favorite brands | affordable prices. Drops of Jesus' blood that are said to have fallen on the steps are marked by medieval crosses in three places on the stairs. And other gay clerics in the Old Vatican every room is equipped with a desk, significant... 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