Saturday, October 13, 2007

Out...and the Vatican

By David Willey
BBC News, Rome

The Vatican has confirmed local newspaper reports that a high-ranking Catholic priest has been suspended.

The man, who works in the department in charge of clergy around the world, appeared on Italian TV earlier this month admitting that he was gay.

The unnamed prelate or monsignor was suspended pending further investigations, said chief Vatican spokesman Father Frederico Lombari.

Monsignor is the title normally given to senior Vatican officials.

Father Lombardi said that although the case was being treated as confidential, the priest had clearly acted in a way that was incompatible with his status inside the world headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church.

The unnamed prelate appears to have acted ingenuously by appearing on an investigative programme about gay priests on an Italian commercial TV channel.

He allowed a TV camera to film him inside his private office in the Vatican. Although his voice was disguised, colleagues and friends easily identified him as a monsignor who frequently used to appear as anchorman and even celebrate mass on a well known local Catholic TV channel.

The monsignor told his interviewer that he did not regard himself as being in a state of sin because of his homosexual activities but was forced to keep them secret because of the church's teaching on the subject.

The Vatican rarely comments on sexual scandal involving priests and the prompt admission of this priest's suspension is unusual.

NOTE: For those who read Italian, a more detailed account is available from La Repubblica or L'Unita. Although these newspapers give only the initials of the self-outed cleric, the combined biographical data and screen shots from the "Exit" TV program lead here. Thank you for your courage, brother T.S., and don't forget these words from your own site:

Sotto la Tua protezione
ci rifugiamo,
santa Madre di Dio.

Non respingere le preghiere
che Ti rivolgiamo
nelle nostre necessità,
ma liberaci da tutti i pericoli,
Vergine gloriosa e benedetta.

No comments: