Saturday, May 14, 2011

Italy shuts out Sex and the Vatican

It promised to arouse discussion and create a bit of commotion, said a dispatch from the Italian agency, Ansa, on April 18

And, indeed, that is the way it seemed when Carmelo Abbate's book, Sex and the Vatican, was published last month. The book grew out of an investigation by the author, published last year by Panorama news magazine, into the double lives of some gay priests in Rome. But Sex and the Vatican goes much further.

It looks at such taboo issues for the Roman Catholic church as the women who become priests' mistresses and the children they have (and those they abort). It details allegations of the rape of nuns by priests. And it concludes that large parts of the clergy are leading double lives because of the crushing burden placed on them by the Vatican's insistence that they lead lives of celibacy and chastity.

...The French edition shot to number 12 in's non-fiction bestseller list as the initial print run sold out in under a week...In Italy, by contrast, the publication of Sex and the Vatican has been met with a wall of embarrassed silence. It is as if it had never happened...

More from The Guardian's John Hooper...

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