New book, ‘In the Closet of the Vatican’, produces a toxic cloud of suspicion

Photo by Sean Ang on Unsplash

Frederic Martel, a French sociologist and author of the book In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy, boldly told reporters at a press conference at the Foreign Press Association in Rome on Feb. 20 that “the great majority” of the more than 200 members of the College of Cardinals are homosexual and suggested that many are leading double lives.

While it has been widely reported that, according to the book, 80 percent of the priests working in the Vatican are gay, at the press conference Mr. Martel sought to distance himself from this dramatic allegation. He said the figure was told to him by a priest whom he interviewed for the book. “I do not validate or non-validate this. How can one say?” he told reporters.

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Asked by America for proof to justify his assertion that “the great majority” of cardinals in the church today are homophiles, Mr. Martel offered no pertinent reply.

A central thesis of his book is that cardinals and bishops who make the strongest condemnations of homosexuality are more likely to be gay themselves; he describes this as part of their attempt to cover up who they really are.

Writing in a tabloid manner, Mr. Martel reports what his various sources told him about this or that Vatican prelate or cardinal. Having told these stories over many pages, he sometimes adds: “Of course one cannot be certain that this is exactly the case.” Such awkward qualifications raise a question of basic journalistic ethics: Why does he write something that casts suspicion or calls into question the integrity of so many persons without providing solid proof?

Nobody can doubt that there are gay priests working in the Vatican, just as there are gay people in almost any international organization of a comparable size. But to report—as Mr. Martel does, based on what others have told him and or what he believes he has himself observed or deduced during his investigation—that roughly 80 percent of Vatican staff are gay and to imply, as he does, that many are leading double lives certainly raises questions of credibility and verification.

Mr. Martel said a 300-page document that includes sources, notes and unpublished chapters would be made available online on the book's publication day.

Mr. Martel said a 300-page document that includes sources, notes and unpublished chapters would be made available online on the book's publication day.

The toying with the figure of 80 percent reveals one of the fundamental weaknesses of this book of 550-plus pages. It will be released in eight languages (including English) in 20 countries on Feb. 21, the day Pope Francis opens the Vatican summit on the protection of minors in the church.  

Questioned about this timing, Mr. Martel sought to downplay the financial benefits gained from launching the book on a day when the international media will be focused on the Vatican. Instead he argued that there is a connection between the book and the summit, which is to be found in the Vatican’s culture of secrecy. He claimed that, especially since the time of Pope Paul VI, Vatican culture has not only covered up the homosexuality of cardinals and bishops but also led many of them to protect abusers of minors because they did not want their own sexual histories to be revealed.

Mr. Martel presented the Italian edition of the book, called Sodoma, at today’s press conference. He claimed that during his research for the book, he conducted some 1,500 interviews over four years with a variety of persons connected to the Vatican in 30 countries, including the United States, Argentina, Mexico, Peru and the Vatican City State. He said those interviewed included 42 cardinals, 52 bishops or prelates, 27 gay priests, no less than 45 Holy See diplomats and foreign ambassadors and 11 Swiss Guards, as well as male prostitutes and former Vatican employees who no longer work in the ministry and are living openly gay lives. He recorded the interviews and was assisted by some 80 researchers, translators, local journalists or “fixers” and—perhaps most significantly, given that he often walks a fine line that risks sliding into defamation—some 15 lawyers in different countries.

He told the press that “only a gay person” could have written this book, as only he could “understand the codes and the system” of gay life in Rome; a heterosexual “could not.” He denies the existence of “a gay lobby” in the Vatican but affirmed that there is “a great silent majority of homosexuals” living in isolation like “monads” there. He asserts that there is “a lie” at the heart of the Vatican system, where the great majority of priests are gay, and said that “by imposing celibacy and chastity [on priests], the church has become sociologically homo-sexualized.” He claims his investigation “uncovered” a gay subculture in the Vatican and in the world’s episcopates.

Mr. Martel’s book raises many questions, but it also produces a toxic cloud of suspicion over many cardinals, bishops and priests that will be difficult to dissipate or neutralize. He told the press that he is not targeting individuals but is only aiming at a fraudulent system, and yet he admits that he does “out” the late Colombian Cardinal Lopez Trujillo, citing evidence that he was a practicing homosexual, as well as the nuncio in Paris, Archbishop Luigi Ventura, and some others.

Mr. Martel said that the real “villain” of his book is the dean of the College of Cardinals, Angelo Sodano, who served as nuncio in Chile for 10 years during the Pinochet dictatorship and later as secretary of state to John Paul II. He charges that the cardinal “knew all about the abuse cases” in Chile, regarding Fernando Karadima; in Mexico, regarding Marcial Maciel; in Peru, about the Sodalicio; and in the United States, regarding the former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. He argues that Cardinal Sodano “should be investigated by the Vatican judicial authorities.”   

He alleges that Pope John Paul II was homophobic and surrounded by closeted gay men who issued many anti-gay statements.

Mr. Martel also takes aim at the Polish Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Pope John Paul II’s private secretary, who he says was deeply involved in those cases. He alleges that Pope John Paul II was homophobic and surrounded by closeted gay men who issued many anti-gay statements. He describes Pope Benedict XVI as “a repressed homophile.” But he defends Pope Francis, whom he sees as surrounded “by queens” and caught in a trap, attacked by right-wing forces that seek to link homosexuality to pedophilia. Mr. Martel strongly denies this link, pointing to the fact that so many girls have also been abused.

Pope Francis has recently been accused of covering up Mr. McCarrick’s abuses. But Mr. Martel charges that, like Cardinal Sodano, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the secretary of state under Pope Benedict XVI, also knew of Mr. McCarrick’s abuses. He noted that Pope John Paul II promoted Mr. McCarrick and gave him the red hat. He charges that, along with Pope Benedict XVI, Pope John Paul knew about the abusive behavior of Mr. McCarrick, as did Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who has “a homophile psychology and belongs to that pro- gay current that he denies.”  

In this book, Mr. Martel, who says he was a Catholic up to the age of 12 and has since been attracted to left-wing Catholicism in France, calls into question the integrity not only of many people, including cardinals, bishops, other prelates and popes, but also of the church.

If you like gossip, anecdotes, salacious stories and innuendo about people in high places in the church, then you will probably like this book. But if you are looking for hard evidence, documentation, separation of fact from assumption or other forms of proof to sustain the allegations or claims being made in this text, then you will be disappointed.

Want to learn more about what’s happening at the Vatican? In our new podcast, Gerard O’Connell and Colleen Dulle will take you behind the headlines for an intergenerational conversation about the biggest stories out of the Vatican. Listen now.

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Ginger Jones
2 months ago

"If you like gossip, anecdotes, salacious stories and innuendo about people in high places in the church, then you will probably like this book."

"Mr. Martel said a 300-page document that includes sources, notes and unpublished chapters would be made available online on the book's publication day."
I don't know. That sounds like a bit more than sheer salacious gossip. Perhaps the book will help us start to understand how the Maciels and McCarricks of the world got away with their depravity and abuse for decades, under multiple popes. Certainly nobody else has provided a very good explanation as of yet.

Vincent Couling
1 month 3 weeks ago

Well said, Ginger! Fr James Alison's recent article on Martel's book sets out vital context (he was an important source for Martel), and is essential, not to mention fascinating, reading ... http://jamesalison.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Welcome-to-my-world.pdf

J. Calpezzo
2 months ago

His Eminence Roger Mahony

Nora Bolcon
2 months ago

Not enough time to comment well now so I will come back later. What this writer fails to understand is that this type of clandestine behavior is obviously hard to prove much like sexism is hard often to prove but that does not make it false. I see in this what is clear and what I have been telling people for ages now - sexism causes pedophilia and the abuse of minors, and this is well proven already, and in various ways and definitely helped to cause the child abuse crisis in our church and helped to cover up the child abuse in our church.

Does this not clearly explain why our bishops and popes and cardinals can't even discuss the obviously abusive rules forbidding women same sacraments as men? Even though Jesus, himself, forbids treating any person differently than another or differently than you wish to be treated? But heavens we can't even talk about justice for women and priestly ordination because ahhh - no reason - ahhh - or oh those women will spill the beans on how we abuse kids and seminarians and even force straight guys to keep silent to our wild gay parties at the Vatican. We bishops can keep the straight male celibates in line, by threatening them we will tell on their affairs with women, and some of the straight guys are just as guilty too so we will expose their child abuse. Married guys abuse more than single men so obviously straight guys and priests are just as likely to abuse children, especially, if they are hidden from all women's view and authority with every other priest and up hiding their own skeletons.

The answer is clear, as well as being a matter of supporting the human dignity of all women, ordain women now to priesthood! Make them bishops, cardinals, and eligible to be made Popes now! or stop fussing about how you care about our kids being abused. You don't care enough to change what matters!

Frank T
2 months ago

Your "toxic cloud of suspicion" is more like the atomic bomb. After two thousand years, it is time for honesty.

KATHERIN MARSH
2 months ago

The Organizational Structure of the church has no parallel. Many of those who look at social and political organizations try to impose an hierarchical schema that does not exist in the Church among the Bishops. The Pope is first, among equals; an organizational structure characterized by collegiality.

arthur mccaffrey
2 months ago

bull! RCC is a medieval monarchy with one CEO and a bunch of VPs who all take oaths of secrecy and loyalty to the pope. The best comparison is to the US military which has the same top down, hierarchical command and control structure. Collegiality?--dream on!

Al Cannistraro
2 months ago

arthur mccaffrey said: "The best comparison is to the US military which has the same top down, hierarchical command and control structure."

I just can't see that. Look at the size of the US military's administrative structure, as is illustrated by the Pentagon, vs. the Vatican. Maybe "collegiality" is not the most accurate descriptor, but certainly there is a lot of autonomy. If one wants to take legal action against "the Church" in the US, one must settle for suing a diocese or an individual institution or something similarly local.

A very sophisticated and spare worldwide monarchical system of command and administration, perhaps, that largely continues to communicate by word of mouth, and which largely consists of independent jurisdictions bound by loyalty and tradition.

Nora Bolcon
2 months ago

And let us not forget it rivals the military's rape record.

Joe Cavallo
2 months ago

You sound a bit defensive. The church definitely does not deserve the benefit of the doubt. In normal times I would not pay any attention to some ‘author’ trying to sell books. However, he may not be far off. This is where we are today, sadly. The church must completely modernize; allow women to be Priests (it is 2019 after all); allow priests to marry, etc. In other words, turn the church into a modern organization where all segments of life are included.

I figure the church can do this a couple weeks - what ‘ya say Pope Francis?

Joe Cavallo
2 months ago

You sound a bit defensive. The church definitely does not deserve the benefit of the doubt. In normal times I would not pay any attention to some ‘author’ trying to sell books. However, he may not be far off. This is where we are today, sadly. The church must completely modernize; allow women to be Priests (it is 2019 after all); allow priests to marry, etc. In other words, turn the church into a modern organization where all segments of life are included.

I figure the church can do this a couple weeks - what ‘ya say Pope Francis?

Tony B. de Castro
2 months ago

"gossip, anecdotes, salacious stories and innuendo about people in high places" -- yest to all of that. but one should not forget or downplay the fact that the Vatican does adhere to and protect at all costs its culture of secrecy and power... the question to ask is whether the Vatican is ready to implement and promote a culture of openness, transparency and acountability.

Christopher Lobb
2 months ago

It's Dr Martel, not 'Mr' Martel.

The author of this factually flatulent article refers throughout to Martel as 'Mr' rather than 'Doctor', Martel's academically credited title, since he holds a PhD.

O'Connell appears to have a personal axe to grind.

Tim O'Leary
2 months ago

Martel argues for a massive gay lobby in the Vatican, but it doesn't pass the smell test. Its timing, gossip style and hyperbole is a fake news story (Cardinal Cupich should invite his Chicagoan parishoner, Jussie Smollett, as a witness on the harm fake hate can cause). The book is a homophile fantasy by a homosexual author. and does not deserve this review. Martel has just made stuff up. He got the 80% ("everybody does it, so I cannot be that bad" excuse) from a gay priest who was defrocked after gay sex porn was found on his computer.
The general population has 2-5% self-identifying on polls as homosexual. Even if it is now highly fashionable (as Pope Francis says), even 20% (10x) is ridiculously high. He has something for everyone, confirming the Vigano story and making Pope Francis complicit in McCarrick. He also argues that the more one opposes homosexuality, the more one is one, yet he doesn't call Saint Pope JP II one, despite calling him a homophobe (like the Scriptures and the Catechism). Is it really likely that a homophobe is more likely to be a homosexual than a homophile? Martel contradicts himself.

Will Nier
2 months ago

I agree with that. I have seen to much.

Robert Lewis
2 months ago

I am going to come back on this myself, but I will say here, in advance, that I blame Father James Martin SJ not so much for calling for "dialogue," but for failing to advance a SOLUTION for regularizing the situations of faithful same-sex-attracted priests and lay Catholics, who wish to be chaste, and who wish to adhere to the true SPIRIT of the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church regarding sexual morality, but who also do not wish to live an un-partnered life.
Father Martin's responses in the post linked below are, consequently, quite weak. His calls for "dialogue" are actually not "constructive criticism" of the current failure of the Church to welcome gay Catholics and provide a ministry and a spiritual discipline for them (of the same sort that she DOES provide, for example, to senior citizens and to singles and to refugees); it is not "constructive criticism," because it does not offer solutions--solutions better than the ministry to "closet cases" called "Courage."
https://syndicate.network/symposia/theology/in-the-closet-of-the-vatican/

Robert Klein
2 months ago

I go to mass to receive the Eucharist the priest is only there to perform the consecration of the host he is a man a sinner like me but he is ordained by god and he will be judged far more harshly than i

Bev Ceccanti
2 months ago

Robert : True Transubstantiation happens regardless of the state of the priest's soul.

Robert Klein
2 months ago

Doesn’t matter what he perceives in a sexual way he is bound by abstinence

Bev Ceccanti
1 month 4 weeks ago

This is true also. But thank God we can still receive Communion and be confident about it.

Bev Ceccanti
1 month 4 weeks ago

This is true also. But thank God we can still receive Communion and be confident about it.

Robert Klein
2 months ago

Besides what do you expect from the French media

Leonard C Supp
2 months ago

Whether 80 percent is the right figure doesn't matter. Until the Church faces up to and addresses this problem, it will not go away. The credibility of the Church hierarchy is in question. To try to deny that there is a problem is a dishonest response. The Church has a problem, and the only truly Christian response is through truth, remorse, atonement, and reform.

Leonard C Supp
2 months ago

Whether 80 percent is the right figure doesn't matter. Until the Church faces up to and addresses this problem, it will not go away. The credibility of the Church hierarchy is in question. To try to deny that there is a problem is a dishonest response. The Church has a problem, and the only truly Christian response is through truth, remorse, atonement, and reform.

Michael Bindner
2 months ago

I wonder how he treats the question of the Hellenistic glorification of asexuality as ideal rather than statistical deviation. After reading the Times piece, I suspect that Brother Ted was more Ace than Gay but made a great scapegoat for the latter. I doubt that there are any heteros left in the Vatican, but who am I to judge?

Al Cannistraro
2 months ago

To characterize the author merely as a sociologist sells him short. See two links below:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fr%C3%A9d%C3%A9ric_Martel

Frédéric Martel is the author of nine books:

Philosophie du droit et philosophie politique d'Adolphe Thiers, LGDJ, 1995 (His thesis in public law published as a book at LGDJ Press)
The Pink and the Black, Homosexuals in France since 1968, Le Seuil, 1996 ; trans. into English in the US by Jane Marie Todd at Stanford University Press, 1999, ISBN 0-8047-3274-4
La longue marche des gays, coll. “Découvertes Gallimard” (n° 417), série Culture et société. Éditions Gallimard, 2002.
Theater, Sur le déclin du théâtre en Amérique et comment il peut résister en France, La Découverte, 2006.
De la culture en Amérique (Culture in America), Gallimard, 2006 (2007 France-Amériques prize; translated in Japanese and in Polish).
Mainstream, Enquête sur la guerre globale de la culture et des médias (On Global War on Culture), publisher: Flammarion, March 2010 (trans. in a dozen languages & countries : Germany, Japan, China, Spain, Poland, Mexico, South Korea, Brazil, Italy...).[3][4]
J'aime pas le sarkozysme culturel (Against Sarkozy's Culture), Flammarion, 2012.
Global Gay, How gay culture is changing the world, Flammarion, 2012 (Translated in Spanish and Italian ; adapted as a TV documentary Global Gay, an award winner film who received the "Grand Prix" by the World Organization Against Torture, OMCT, in Geneva, 2014.)
Smart, On the internets, Stock, 2014 (the book is about to be translated in 8 languages and 15 countries).
In the Closet of the Vatican : Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy, Bloomsbury, 2019, ISBN 9781472966148

Yves Jeuland's movie, Bleu, Blanc, Rose was based on Frédéric Martel's The Pink and the Black (broad. on France 3, National Public Television) and Frédéric Martel has also codirected the documentary De la culture en Amérique with Frédéric Laffont (broad. on Arte, French-German TV network) and Global Gay with Rémi Lainé (2014).

http://fredericmartel.com/bio-en/

Frédéric Martel is a Researcher and Writer. He has a PhD in Social Sciences and four Master Degrees in Law, Political science, Philosophy, and Social Science (University La Sorbonne). He has been “visiting scholar” at Harvard University and taught at Sciences-Po Paris and at the HEC’s Business School MBA in Paris.

He is the author of nine books, including On Culture in America (Gallimard, 2006) and the best-seller Mainstream : On the Global War on Culture and Medias (Flammarion, 2010, translated in twenty countries). See articles in : Newsweek, New Yorker, New York Times.

As a radio anchor, Frédéric Martel is in charge of the weekly radio program « Soft Power » on French National Public Radio (France Culture/Radio France). He is the Reporter at large and a Foreign Affairs Columnist of Slate.fr

He is also a Senior Research Fellow at the ZHdK’s University in Zurich and at the Center for International Studies (CERI) at Sciences-Po Paris. He advised the European Commission and he was a member of “New Narrative for Europe”, the cultural task force of the president of the EU.

His last book, Smart, on the internets (Publisher: Stock, 2014), is translated in nine languages. See here: National press or International press.

He lives in Paris and travels, every week, around the world.

Mister Mckee
2 months ago

It kinda sorta loses something in translation (especially the 1st chapter's tag line!)
http://fredericmartel.com/prologus/

Al Cannistraro
2 months ago

THE PHOTO IS INVERTED
The Vatican City photo that illustrates this piece is upside down. I checked and it is upside down on the unsplash.com page that it is copied from. Great photo, but much better if you download it and turn it over. Actually it makes no sense inverted if you compare the upper and lower parts.

As it appears, incorrectly, on the web page, the image on top, with the darker clouds, actually is a reflection in a puddle on the ground. The grey band is an inverted image of the pavement beyond the puddle.
https://unsplash.com/photos/fG26dfcrMdE
Photo by Sean Ang on Unsplash

ADDENDUM: I now realize that the image as shown also is reversed left-to-right. So this must not be an error. Rather, it is a commentary or an artistic statement by the photographer.

I wonder if the editors at America published this photo knowingly and thereby intended to make their own statement.

Al Cannistraro
2 months ago

Gerard O'Connell's concluding paragraph: "If you like gossip, anecdotes, salacious stories and innuendo about people in high places in the church, then you will probably like this book. But if you are looking for hard evidence, documentation, separation of fact from assumption or other forms of proof to sustain the allegations or claims being made in this text, then you will be disappointed."

The choices being offered here are self-serving to the Church. The piece is designed to dissuade readers from taking the book seriously or even from reading it.

There is no necessary presumption of innocence in this situation, and neither is there a necessary evidentiary standard.

What I know of the book seems to support the way the specific Roman clerical characters have tended to be portrayed in Fellini movies as I remember them. Not in terms of homosexuality exclusively, but in the sense of being privileged libertines generally. That's the vague suggestion or impression I remember getting.

In my opinion, a useful question to ask is not, yes or no, does the book make a convincing case that proves its allegation?. A better question is, in what ways, if any, does the book help us better understand or gain insight into Roman clerical lifestyles, behavior, etc.?

Then, making judgements about clerical or institutional hypocricy, integrity, authenticity, and so on, might follow.

Al Cannistraro
2 months ago

REVIEW BY ANDREW SULLIVAN
Sullivan asserts, "This is not the peddling of innuendo, or salacious gossip. It’s reporting."

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/02/andrew-sullivan-the-vaticans-corruption-has-been-exposed.html

The Corruption of the Vatican’s Gay Elite Has Been Exposed
By Andrew Sullivan

I spent much of this week reading and trying to absorb the new and devastating book by one Frédéric Martel on the gayness of the hierarchy at the top of the Catholic Church, In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy. It’s a bewildering and vast piece of reporting — Martel interviewed no fewer than “41 cardinals, 52 bishops and monsignori, 45 apostolic nuncios, secretaries of nunciatures or foreign ambassadors, 11 Swiss Guards and over 200 Catholic priests and seminarians.” He conducted more than 1,500 interviews over four years, is quite clear about his sources, and helps the reader weigh their credibility. He keeps the identity of many of the most egregiously hypocritical cardinals confidential, but is unsparing about the dead.

The picture Martel draws is jaw-dropping. Many of the Vatican gays — especially the most homophobic — treat their vows of celibacy with an insouciant contempt. Martel argues that many of these cardinals and officials have lively sex lives, operate within a “don’t ask, don’t tell” culture, constantly hit on young men, hire prostitutes, throw chem-sex parties, and even pay for sex with church money. How do we know this? Because, astonishingly, they tell us.

So much of the information in the book comes from sources deep within the Holy See. Named and unnamed, they expose their fellow cardinals and bishops and nuncios as hypocrites, without perhaps realizing that their very targets are doing the same to them. Martel didn’t expect this remarkable candor, or, clearly, what he was about to see: “Whether they are ‘practising’, ‘homophile’, ‘initiates’, ‘unstraights’, ‘wordly’, ‘versatile’, ‘questioning’, or simply ‘in the closet’, the world I am discovering, with its 50 shades of gay, is beyond comprehension.”

Among the named sources: Francesco Lepore, a brilliant young gay Latin translator and priest. He soared through the ranks, directly serving Popes Benedict XVI and Francis, until, as a gay man, he found a way to quit his post because he couldn’t abide the double life he was forced to lead, or the rancid hypocrisy of the whole system. He says he saw everything from the inside: “He has had several lovers among archbishops and prelates; he has been propositioned by a number of cardinals, whom we discuss: an endless list. I have scrupulously checked all of those stories, making contact myself with those cardinals, archbishops, monsignori, nuncios, assistants, ordinary priests or confessors at St Peter’s, all basically homosexual.” This is not the peddling of innuendo, or salacious gossip. It’s reporting.

I’m no naïf when it comes to the gayness of the church. I’ve lived in it as a gay man for all my adult life, and my eyes are open. And so the book did not surprise me, as such, but it still stunned, shocked, and disgusted me. You simply cannot unread it, or banish what is quite obviously true from your mind. It helps explain more deeply the rants of Pope Francis about so many of his cardinals, especially his denunciations of “Pharisees” and “hypocrites,” with their sexual amorality and their vast wealth and power. “Behind rigidity something always lies hidden; in many cases, a double life,” he has said. He has excoriated “hypocrites” who live “hidden and often dissolute lives,” those who “put makeup on their soul and live off makeup”; he has exclaimed in public that “hypocrisy does a lot of harm: it’s a way of life.”

(CLICK LINK ABOVE FOR COMPLETE REVIEW)

Mister Mckee
2 months ago

Andrew Sullivan is just wrong! This book is nothing more than the latest documentation of previous documentation - most of which he apparently missed along the way during his years "as a gay man for all his adult life."
Everyone was surprised back in October of 1982, when Umberto Eco sold the mass market paperback rights to his Name of the Rose for $465,000 US dollars. Having actually been there -and not needing to rely on a third party like much of Dr. Martel's purloined purple prose- I heard the comment floating around the main exhibit hall at the Frankfurt Buchmesse touting it as the upcoming beach reading selection, adding 'Oh, no one will READ it, but everyone will have to be SEEN with it!' I suspect that neither will be true for the book whose Prologue recently filled page one of the Feb. 22 NCR -mercifully, below the fold. Neither serious journalism nor serious history, one cannot help but wonder if Dr. Martel has at the very least succeeded in using the first person singular pronoun as many times as the alleged number of frequent flyer miles amassed during what he refers to as "four years of research" -punctuated by an intermittent number of Roman pajama parties! One needn't have a degree in stylistics to see when and where the 5 or 6 pages contributed by each of his 80 assistants and collaborators were decoupaged together into what can most charitably be referred to as 'une salade psychosexuelle,' revealing more about its compiler-in-chief than about the actual subjects under scrutiny. But before it is relegated to the "Remainders Bin" of history, perhaps a new sales promotion will cleverly package this "grosse brique" in a rounded carrying case, complete with a Vatican embossed bouffant hair dryer, since its tone and content belong at the nearest beauty parlor gaggle of gossips - regardless of sexual orientation!

Al Cannistraro
2 months ago

For anyone interested, there is an online academic symposium taking place on the contents of this book involving a dozen or so thinkers, including authors on this America website. Apparently, the book author also will be participating.

https://syndicate.network/symposia/theology/in-the-closet-of-the-vatican/

From the symposium's webpage introduction:

I’ve tried to frame In the Closet of the Vatican as a whole, partly so that I could make sense of the symposium Luigi Gioia and I have organized. Formal aspects of the work invite critical engagement, including the methodology, theoretical apparatus, and object of study. Methodologically, does it work as a piece of investigative journalism? What is the underlying social theory, and what should we make of it? Objectively, does such a system or pattern exist? What would it mean to describe it accurately? This raises further questions about Martel’s execution: his decision to include salacious details, to make insinuations, to joke, and even to jab. Is the rhetoric befitting of the topic? For example, was it really necessary to portray Cardinal Burke as a Liturgy Queen? It’s also possible, as some already have, to engage the book’s motives and speculate about its intended and unintended consequences: is Martel trying to help Francis? Will it backfire? Might it distract from clergy abuse or be weaponized to scapegoat gay priests? Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it’s worth engaging the central, substantive theme directly. As Maeve Heaney’s essay aptly summarizes: “the paradoxical and duplicitous stance between rigid morality and obsession with sex that emerges from repressed, unaware, or unintegrated human sexuality; and how destructive this is when pervasive in” the church’s leadership. This invites engagement from both psychology and from theology.

The following symposium will eventually consist of 11 essays by scholars and practitioner, who engage the book from a variety of disciplinary perspectives: sociological (Guhin), journalistic (O’Laughlin and Martin), pastoral (Martin, Gioia, and Alison), psychological (Hayward), moral (Ford), ecclesiological (Flanagan), and various other theological (Heaney, LaCouter, and me) perspectives. Each wrote in response to our fairly open-ended invitation. Though the panel is far from exhaustive or representative, we have tried to begin a responsible conversation about the book in some of the ways we think are important. Various constraints on the organization of this symposium, it will depart from the typical Syndicate format in a number of ways. The essays will initially be posted without responses. Martel’s responses will be posted as they are received. Rather than releasing the essays on a regular weekly or semi-weekly schedule, I will post the essays as I receive them.

Crystal Watson
1 month 4 weeks ago

Fr. James Alison writes about the book too - he was one of the sources quoted in the book ... Welcome to my world: Notes on the reception of Frédéric Martel's bombshell

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Holy Communion is the Lord’s way of saying that we need never be apart from him in our lives. He will always be there for us. As Pooh puts it, “If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.”
Terrance KleinApril 24, 2019
C.S. Lewis does not come to lovely conclusions about his God or his religion or his suffering. He asks many more questions than he answers. He rants, questions, weeps and feels terrible, deservedly sorry for himself and for the woman he loved so much and has now lost. And in doing so, he renders in
Jessica MesmanApril 24, 2019