Pope Benedict, and “Homosexual Orgies in the Lateran Palace”.

A few days ago, there were several breathless reports that Mel Gibson’s father had claimed that Pope Benedict XVI, along with half the Vatican, were “homosexuals”. It turned out though, that these were old claims, made in a January radio interview which were totally unsupported by any evidence.

Allegations of widespread homosexuality among high ranking Vatican officials are not new though, nor are they surprising. Read the rest of this entry »

Catholic Clergy, Gay Sex – and Church History.

Last week, there were reports from Italy that undercover reporters had shadowed three priests, and had followed them to gay sex clubs. Video footage, allegedly of these priests in the clubs, in a private flat where one of them had sex with a man, and of one saying Mass, has been posted on line. The Catholic Church says it is “embarrassed” .

It needn’t be – there’s a long history of Catholic clergy having sex with men, from the earliest church to modern times. Read the rest of this entry »

Gay Popes, Papal Sodomites

For the month of Gay Pride (in church), it would be great if we could simply celebrate a list of unambiguously gay popes – but we can’t. This is not because they don’t exist (there were undoubtedly several popes whom we know had physical relationships with men), but because of the inadequacies of language, and the weakness of the historical record over something so deeply personal, especially among the clergy. Both of these difficulties are exemplified by Mark Jordan’s use of the phrase, “Papal Sodomites”.  In medieval terms, a “sodomite” was one of utmost abuse, which meant far more than just the modern “homosexual”. It could also include, bestiality, or heresy, or withcraft, and (in England, after the Reformation) “popery”, which is deeply ironic, and hence treason.

So in the years before libel laws and carefully controlled democratic institutions, accusations of “sodomy” were a useful slander for the powerful to throw at their political enemies. Read the rest of this entry »

Gay Popes, Papal Sodomites

For the month of Gay Pride (in church), it would be great if we we could simply celebrate a list of unambiguously gay popes – but we can’t. This is not because they don’t exist (there were undoubtedly several popes whom we know had physical relationships with men), but because of the inadequacies of language, and the weakness of the historical record over something so deeply personal, especially among the clergy. Both of these difficulties are exemplified by Mark Jordan’s use of the phrase, “Papal Sodomites”.  In medieval terms, a “sodomite” was one of utmost abuse, which meant far more than just the modern “homosexual”. It could also include, bestiality, or heresy, or withcraft, and (in England, after the Reformation) “popery”, which is deeply ironic, and hence treason.

So in the years before libel laws and carefully controlled democratic institutions, accusations of “sodomy” were a useful slander for the powerful to throw at their political enemies. Read the rest of this entry »

Gay Popes: Julius III

When I wrote about Paul II earlier, I referred to Julius III – then realised I have never given you more than a snippet on this flagrant lover of boys including one in particular, a street urchin whom Julius appointed as Cardinal at the grand old age of 17

In his early career in the Church Julius established a reputation as an effective and trustworthy diplomat, and was elected to the Papacy as a compromise candidate when the Papal Conclave found itself deadlocked between the rival French and German factions. As Pope he lost, or failed to show, any of the qualities which had distinguished his previous career, devoting himself instead to a life of personal pleasure and indolence. His lasting fame, or notoriety, rests rather on his relationship with the 17 year old boy whom he raised to the position of Cardinal-Nephew, and, it was said at the time, with whom he shared his bed.

Read the rest of this entry »

Gay Popes: The Embarrassing Death of Paul II

I’ve been reading Martin Duberman’s anthology, “Hidden From History“, and in particular James Saslow on Homosexuality in the Renaissance. One of Saslow’s key points is that at this time, men who had sex with men were not exclusive – in modern terms, they would more likely be described as “bisexual”. In a passage about how the rich and powerful freely made sexual use of their subordinates, I came across this throwaway reference:

Similar patterns prevailed among the clergy and educated humanists. Charges against Paul II and Julius II centred around their seduction of much younger men; Cellini’s autobiography records a beautiful and talented youth, Luigi Pulci, who made a career out of service to Roman bishops.

Now, I knew about Julius II – and for that matter, Julius III – but this was the first sexual gossip I have come across concerning Paul II, so I explored further. This is what I found: it seems he died while being sodomized by a page boy.

Paul II died, on July 26, 1471 of a stroke, allegedly whilst being sodomized by a page boy. Read the rest of this entry »

Outing the Church: Gay Popes, Gay Bishops


"A statue of a bishop or cardinal or pope strikes a particularly effeminate pose as he gazes at the sculptor while holding an open book".  Image by Holoweb

"A statue of a bishop or cardinal or pope strikes a particularly effeminate pose as he gazes at the sculptor while holding an open book". Image by Holoweb

It is widely guesstimated that gay men today represent something of the order of half of all priests. There is no reason to assume that this percentage differs dramatically in the senior ranks – indeed, there are those who claim that in the years of Paul VI and John Paul I, a gay orientation was a positive advantage in gaining papal preferment, leading to the creation of a “gay mafia” in the Vatican.  Be that as it may, whatever the proportions, it must be true that the absolute numbers of gay bishops and clergy must surely be significant.  We know of many examples from history, and there are well stories of their modern counterparts – emerging only after death, or in the aftermath of blackmail scandals.

But the numbers we know about represent only a tiny proportion of the total.  I have noted previously (“Traditional Family”  values, traditional “Family Values”) that I believe it is time to start identifying and outing those senior clergy who connive in the official oppressive church teaching, yet freely give expression to their own gay sexuality:

It is widely reported that a large and growing proportion of priests, at all levels in the hierarchy, are gay.  Others are heterosexual, but non-celibate.  Professional Vatican watchers, it is said, know not only who many of these people are, but also their partners and preferred sexual practices.  As with politicians, I would prefer that they should have the courage to come out publicly, difficult as this would be, but where they choose not to, we must respect their privacy.  But as with politicians, where they actively connive in the church’s demonization of “homosexuals”  and other sexual minorities, they should lose that right to provacy.  There have been plenty of reports of gay bishops and cardinals emerging after their deaths, or after nasty blackmail scandals – so why not when they are alive?

It is also often said that the pope’s balls are one of the three most useless things in the world.  So………come on, you professional clerical journalists:  are your cojones any more useful than His Holiness’s ?”

Read the rest of this entry »