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Beset by a continuous drip of disclosures about clerical sex abuse, and angered by a pope intent on mischaracterizing the nature of the scandal, Catholics are a ready market for an exposé of a masked but powerful gay culture in Vatican circles. Released simultaneously in twenty countries and scheduled to coincide with the Vatican’s February abuse summit, Frédéric Martel’s In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy is a publishing gambit expecting to be an international sensation.
Prurience sells. Accordingly, Closet is a lurid through-the-looking-glass potboiler steaming with gleeful digs, salacious innuendo, unsupported inferences, and self-admiring ballyhoo. Like Alice, readers are expected “to believe at least six impossible things before breakfast” (e.g., intimates of Pope Benedict at posh parties with butlers in livery and cakes decorated with marzipan penises; male street prostitution in Rome bankrolled by Vatican clerics). Dozens more follow on into the night with randy seminarians, Muslim rent boys, “sacristy queens,” and sexually arid celibates.
Gay - Propagandist - Martel - Framework - Catholicism
An openly gay propagandist, Martel is hostile to the moral framework of Catholicism’s sexual ethics, and disdains “a continence that is against nature.” He crusades for an unreservedly gay priesthood: “A priest or a cardinal should not be ashamed of being homosexual; I even think it should be one possible social status among others. . . . These cardinals, bishops and priests have the right to have lovers, and to explore their inclinations, whether acquired or innate.”
The book’s logic flows from its premise: most “homophobic” supporters of an objective moral order are themselves gay. It follows that the clerical culture of secrecy can only be eliminated by acknowledging gay priests as gays and, it follows, endorsing homosexuality.
Martel - Celibacy - Collapse - Discipline - Restrictions
To Martel, it is celibacy that is deviant. By trumpeting the obligatory collapse of priestly discipline, he works to undermine remaining institutional restrictions on sexual freedom. Homosexual priests...
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