Yet dozens of interviews with current and former gay priests, gay monks, veteran Vatican journalists, Italian aristocrats, and gay men at Roman gyms, bars, nightclubs, sex clubs, and restaurants suggest that, riveting as the more graphic stories are, they convey a limited part of the reality of gay clerical life in Rome. Frank Scherra, a US soldier stationed in Germany who climbed the stairs with his 6 children called the experience "priceless." Vanity Fair may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. As you would expect, the priest I met in the sauna looks rather different with vestments on. Castel Sant'Angelo is 2.4 km from the accommodation, while Campo de' Fiori is 2.5 km away. “Right now the surest thing I can say is that there’s change in the air,” he said. In 2000, Politi published a book-length interview with an anonymous gay priest, entitled La Confessione, republished in 2006 as Io, Prete Gay (I, Gay Priest). Sensationally, the newspaper suggested that Benedict’s concern about the alleged gay lobby was one reason he had suddenly resigned the papacy. The longer you’re in it, the more it controls, the more you assume the clerical position.” They keep hope small, or snuff it entirely. Although the original basilica's construction was begun during the reign of emperor Constantine I and completed in the fourth century, Pope Leo I (440–461) was … “Messiah” in the Old Testament refers rather to three different figures in the life of the people of Israel. But not speak out. ", Two Raphael paintings unearthed at the Vatican after 500 years. Many others quietly let themselves be known as gay to a limited degree, to some colleagues, or to some laypeople, or both; sometimes they remain celibate and sometimes they do not. 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. The Vatican’s COVID-19 commission said Tuesday it is working to help promote fair access to the coronavirus vaccine, especially for those who are most vulnerable. One morning, he reportedly made a sandwich for the Swiss Guard who had stood sentinel outside his room all night. His book collection began the Vatican Library. Encircled by a 2-mile border with Italy, Vatican City … “The symbols of the Church should be the sacraments,” such as the Eucharist, he argues, but over time the people who administer the sacraments have come to displace them in prominence. To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories. I had heard that he is a gossip, a social operator whose calendar is a blur of drinks and dinners with cardinals and archbishops, principessas and personal trainers. (Stenico tried to persuade Italian newspapers that he’d just been playing along in order “to study how priests are ensnared” into gay sex as part of “a diabolical plan by groups of Satanists.” He was suspended from his Vatican position.) Vatican old stamps. 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. The Old Vatican se nachází v římské čtvrti Vaticano Prati, 2,2 km od Vatikánu a náměstí Piazza Navona, 2,3 km od náměstí sv. For fear of laughing out loud, priests sometimes try to avoid making eye contact with one another in church when hymns with titles like “Hail, Holy Queen” are sung. The report was also said to document the alleged gay lobby’s social structure and customs. Months later, another leak of confidential information brought the subject of a gay lobby back into the news. Total price: 24 €. He was preaching a homily on the Gospel reading, the parable of the Good Samaritan. I have nothing financially. 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. "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. Whether he received this privileged access from some friend or family member, or from a client, is impossible to say; to see a known rent boy in black leather on a private Vatican balcony does raise an eyebrow. Others have recounted stories of conversions and deeply emotional experiences from their climb. 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. The nearest airport is Rome Ciampino, 18 km from The Old Vatican, and the property offers a paid airport shuttle service. At a small party of gay monks and their friends in Rome last summer, conversation turned to recollections of that place. If a person is gay and is searching for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge him?”, He spoke these words with a palpable warmth, unlike the embattled, wary tone that other Popes have adopted. And they inhabit a secretive netherworld, because homosexuality is officially condemned. Some such stories are better substantiated than others. According to the newspaper, the possible existence of this gay lobby was among the many secrets described in a two-volume, 300-page report bound in red and presented to Pope Benedict XVI by three cardinals he had appointed to investigate the affair known as “VatiLeaks.” That scandal, which raised fresh suspicions of endemic corruption within the Curia, had broken the previous year after Paolo Gabriele, the papal butler, made off with some of Benedict’s private papers and leaked them to the press. But this couldn’t be that priest. Vatican City , officially the Vatican City State (Italian: Stato della Città del Vaticano; Latin: Status Civitatis Vaticanae), is the Holy See's independent city state, an enclave within Rome, Italy. The priest told the congregation that this story was a challenge. The Catholic priesthood’s contemporary gay cultural memory begins in the middle of the last century. There are guys in the Jesuit world that everybody knows are gay, but they don’t go around making a big deal out of it.” While Pope Benedict’s Vatican attempted to make sure gays knew they were unwelcome in the priesthood, the Jesuits developed a reputation for tolerating and even protecting their gay brethren. The Holy Stairs are located in the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano. There are at least a few gay cardinals, including one whose long-term partner is a well-known minister in a Protestant denomination. Shipping and handling. In Rome, the author learns how they navigate the dangerous paradox of their lives. “Everything is permitted because you are a prince of the court,” he says. “This is almost an aspect of the Catholic religion itself,” Colm Tóibín has written in an essay on gays and Catholicism, “this business of knowing and not knowing something all at the same time, keeping an illusion separate from the truth.” It is also typical of Italian sexuality in general, and Italian homosexuality in particular. 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. Ireland’s Msgr. Some gay celibate clerics use the saunas not for sex but to experience a sense of fellowship with others like themselves. If you want to know more click here. As noted, the phrase first gained currency before Francis came on the scene, but it returned to public discussion just as he got serious about what may be a hallmark of his papacy: a cleanup of Vatican corruption. They may not act as a collective but are aware of one another’s existence. The Old Vatican, Rome – Pesan dengan Jaminan Harga Terbaik! “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. But la bella figura matters just as much at ordinary moments. Clerics inhabit this silence in a variety of ways. © 2021 Condé Nast. It was presided over by Pope John XXIII and was a landmark event for the modernization of the church. From the 4th century until the Avignonese period (1309–77) the customary residence of the popes was at the Lateran. Old maps of Vatican City on Old Maps Online. Note: An alteration was made in the passage about Marco Politi’s La Confessione, republished as Io, Prete Gay, in order to give a more accurate description of the book. No photos are allowed in the Sistine Chapel but I have seen many photos in reviews. All rights reserved. “Alongside that are suffering priests who seem sincere all the way down, who are trying to be faithful to God, and also to take care of people and change the institution. Although there is no written documentation, tradition has it that Emperor Constantine's Mother, Helen, an avid collector of relics of Jesus in the 4th century, had the stairs brought over from Jerusalem. Castel Sant'Angelo is 2.4 km from the accommodation, while Campo de' Fiori is 2.5 km away. (The priest was acquitted on all charges after claiming that he fled because he feared he was being kidnapped.) When we were alone, I spoke his name, telling him mine. “There are closeted gay priests who are vipers,” observes the theologian Mark D. Jordan, the author of The Silence of Sodom: Homosexuality in Modern Catholicism. The term could refer to a shadowy group like the Illuminati, whose members quietly exercise supreme power. In June, those notes were published on a progressive Catholic Web site. They believe that nothing and no one could make the Church safe for them. All of them, whether actively or passively, have helped create these roles for themselves, and they can hardly imagine a different reality—unless they were to emerge from the closet and get thrown out of the priesthood. “We must always consider the person.”, Tales of gays in the Vatican have been told for more than a thousand years. The Vatican holds secrets so tightly that it can make Fort Meade look like a sloppy drunk. Not the protection of medieval institutions.”. Ancient walls look cool. . One monk told me, “A lot of us will not condemn. 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. Francis has also said some things that, from a Pope’s mouth, seem extraordinary simply because they are so down to earth—like his choice to end one homily with the untraditional exhortation “Have a good lunch!” Yet the first time this Pope’s words, rather than his actions, made significant headlines was in connection with his comments about the “gay lobby.”. 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. Contact the seller- opens in a new window or tab and request a shipping method to your location. Neither Benedict nor Gänswein has publicly responded to any of this. Despite headlines about a powerful “gay lobby” within the Vatican, and a new Pope promising reform, the Catholic Church’s gay cardinals, monks, … You can purchase an audio-guide for an additional 7 €. 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. When he made to greet the man, the guard signaled him to stay back, raising a finger to his lips in a quiet “Shhhhh … ”. The left uses them to level charges of hypocrisy. The stairs will soon be covered over again with wood to protect the marble, but for the next few weeks visitors to Rome can literally walk, or at least kneel, on what are believed to be the original footsteps of Jesus. We left the sauna and, after further conversation, civil but stilted, went our separate ways. The priest who helps with the group of 50 raised his eyebrows when I repeated to him something an archbishop had told me. Which in turn puts a premium on outward appearance and enforces conformity to a certain official ideal. Ad Choices. The Papal Residence . 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. Furthermore, technical and analysis cookies from third parties may be used. When Paul VI assumed the throne, in 1963, by one account he took his papal name not from any predecessor but from a former lover, a film actor. “I wonder who it could be.”. Drops of Jesus' blood that are said to have fallen on the steps are marked by medieval crosses in three places on the stairs. “I thought you were out of the country,” I said. Marco Politi speculates that perhaps as many as 30 were eased out. Construction of the basilica, built over the historical site of the Circus of Nero, began during the reign of Emperor Constantine I. During the previous few days, I had heard a lot about this man. In a 2010 investigation of contract fixing for construction projects, Italian police wiretaps happened to catch a papal usher and Gentleman of His Holiness, Angelo Balducci, allegedly hiring male prostitutes, some of whom may have been seminarians, through a Nigerian member of a Vatican choir. The price for children aged between 6 and 18 is 8 €. Free shipping on many items | Browse your favorite brands | affordable prices. One calls his sauna visits “something to confirm myself as I am.” (Rome has few gay bars, and John Moss, the American owner of the largest and oldest one, the Hangar, says that the rise of Internet cruising, combined with the Vatican’s crackdown on gay priests, has decimated his gay clerical clientele. The cost of the basic ticket is 17 €. Ironic, effeminate self-mockery—allowing priests to exercise some limited rebellion against their own isolation and invisibility—is one form of clerical camp. “Rumors are O.K., but not scandal,” Politi observes. No, he did not think the subject worthwhile. 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. When I asked an archbishop how he thinks the cardinals’ conversation about their gay brothers will go, he answered with reference not to the Holy Spirit but to the god of Fortune. 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. Sign up for our essential daily brief and never miss a story. Denunciation and exposure have made gay priests figures of fascination—though less as people than as symbols—especially to the secular far left and the religious far right. (Nicknamed Bel Giorgio, or “Gorgeous George,” the rugged Gänswein skis, plays tennis, and pilots airplanes. Though the number of gay priests in general, and specifically among the Curia in Rome, is unknown, the proportion is much higher than in the general population. Get the best deals on Vatican Stamp Collections and Lots when you shop the largest online selection at eBay.com. Left bloodied by the thieves, the seminarian hollered at the bystanders, “There’s three of them and 300 of us!”. 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. At The Old Vatican every room is equipped with a desk, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom. The internal VatiLeaks report, according to La Repubblica, indicated that gay clerics in the Vatican were being blackmailed. Where silence can’t strictly be kept, word games can compartmentalize the truth. He invited 200 homeless people for dinner in the Vatican gardens. The scope of his concern about abuse of power seems total. “How lucky for me: you’re here!” Startled, the priest talked fast. Most basically it is a sentence of isolation. By the 1970s, the center of gay life in Rome was a cruising area called Monte Caprino, on the Capitoline Hill. Yet such a dualistic existence is very much a part of Church tradition. For those who want it, organized networks can provide some grounding. When I asked one archbishop if he had known that O’Brien was gay, however, the archbishop said he had not. It depends on what you mean. In every detail, parties celebrating appointment to the Vatican and other high Church offices can be lavish—“like a posh girl’s wedding”—with many clerics in attendance being “gay men wearing everything handmade, perfect, queer as it comes,” observes one prominent figure in the Roman art world. In hoc signo vinces, Constantine’s choice They are the ones who are always forgotten, and read out of the story from both sides.”. Vatican City is the smallest country in the world. Seller assumes all responsibility for this listing. St. Peter’s Basilica, present basilica of St. Peter in Vatican City (an enclave in Rome), begun by Pope Julius II in 1506 and completed in 1615 under Paul V. it is designed as a three-aisled Latin cross with a dome at the crossing, directly above the high alter, which covers the shrine of St. Peter the Apostle. 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 The Vatican Historical Museum has a unique collection of portraits of the Popes from the 16th century to date, the memorable items of the Papal Military Corps of the 16–17th centuries and old religious paraphernalia related to rituals of the papacy. At The Old Vatican every room is equipped with a desk, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom. Yet, before he became Francis, Jorge Bergoglio was a Jesuit. By closing this banner you consent to the use of cookies. Especially for clerics who break the vow of celibacy, it is crucial to keep up appearances in the normal course of life. Kids below 6 years old enter for free and do not need ticket reservations. For gay clerics at the Vatican, one fundamental condition of their power, and of their priesthood, is silence, at least in public, about who they really are. (The cardinal vicar of Rome was given the task of investigating. One private group of about 50 gay priests and laymen meets once a year, for a kind of retreat. “They are really poisonous people, and they work out their own inner demonology by getting into positions in power and exercising it” against other gay men, women, and anyone whom they perceive to be a threat. From the day after the conclave ended—when Francis went back to his hotel and personally checked out, paid his bill, and picked up his suitcase—the new Pope has surprised people with his actions. Vatican's Swiss Guards wear new 3D-printed helmets. 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 name "old St. Peter's Basilica" has been used since the construction of the current basilica to distinguish the two buildings. It has been the official home of all Popes since 1870. Maybe his plans had changed again. The chatter’s main consequence has been not to hurt them personally (though surely it must, at least a little) but to help lock down genuine conversation about the everyday lives of gay priests, whether celibate or not. For a long time, gay priests have made for convenient scapegoats and handy pawns in Church power games. One leading Vatican reporter (who says that, among journalists on the beat, the two most common topics for gossip about Church officials are “who’s gay and who’s on the take”) describes the logic of such behavior. The best times to find clerics at the saunas are late afternoon or evening on Thursdays (when pontifical universities have no classes) or Sundays (after Mass). Vatican palace, papal residence in the Vatican north of St. Peter’s Basilica. 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