The Vatican’s Gay Priests

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For residents of Rome, the sight of courting priests is hardly an anomaly. The phenomenon is a well-known secret here, and one that was largely ignored until last weekend, when the Italian weekly magazine Panorama published a shocking exposé called “Le Notti Brave Dei Preti Gay,” or “Good Nights Out for Gay Priests.”

Investigative journalist Carmelo Abbate spent 20 days undercover posing as the boyfriend of a man who ran in gay clerical circles, secretly videotaping the sexual escapades of three Rome-based priests.

Abbate caught the priests on hidden camera dirty dancing at private parties and engaging in sex acts with male escorts on church property. He also caught them emerging from dark bedrooms in time to celebrate mass. In one postcoital scene, “Father Carlo” parades around seminaked, wearing only his clerical vestments. Abbate’s “date” even had sex with one of the priests to corroborate the story.

This is not about homosexuality,” Abbate, who is not gay, told NEWSWEEK. “This is about private vices and public virtues. This is about serious hypocrisy in the Catholic Church.”

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This post was last updated: Jul. 28, 2010