Sunday, February 17, 2019
This morning, on the day after the news that the Vatican has reduced former Cardinal and Archbishop Theodore McCarrick to the lay state (McCarrick, 88, has been staying in a small friary in western Kansas; I mistakenly wrote that he was in Oklahoma in my last email; thank you to those who brought this mistake to my attention), I received the following email letter, in both English and Italian, from Italian journalist Marco Tosatti, an Italian colleague of mine. He has been covering Vatican affairs with distinction for 40 years.
The letter is entitled: “Astonishing. Sodom. Martel Writes that the Pope Knew about McCarrick.”
Tosatti then gives the passages from a new book, Sodom: In the Closet of the Vatican, by French author Frederic Martel which seem to confirm one of the central statements made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò in his August 2018 Testimony: that Viganò told Pope Francis in 2013, at the very outset of Francis’ papacy, that McCarrick had a decades-long reputation for “corrupting generations of seminarians” by his homosexual molestations, but that Francis, evidently not considering the information important or disqualifying of McCarrick, continued to listen to McCarrick’s advice on Church appointments, and to employ him, though retired, as a sort of informal Vatican ambassador to countries like China, Armenia, Iran and Cuba, lifting restrictions on his travel that Pope Benedict had imposed.
Tosatti calls this evidence confirming Viganò’s account “astonishing” because the confirmation comes from a professedly “pro-Francis” source. Tosatti terms it a type of wound against Pope Francis from “friendly fire.”
And it does appear — though tracing out all the motivations of this matter is a difficult and delicate task, not yet complete — that the source, the new book Sodom: In the Closet of the Vatican, officially to be published on February 21 but already being widely cited from advance copies, was in fact written, at least in part, to support Pope Francis and his declared policy of “greater openness” and “greater mercy” toward many, especially those who identify as homosexuals, who are said to have been “marginalized” in the past by the Church.
Yet this very “supportive” book, in the passages in question, seems to confirm a devastating part of Viganò’s 2018 Testimony.
The point: the new book, written over 5 years by a self-described French homosexual activist who tells us he was invited to stay a week every month in a Vatican residence inside Vatican City and so was able to speak with dozens of high-ranking Vatican officials, a man writing ostensibly to bring about greater acceptance of homosexuality in the Catholic Church and in the Vatican (see in this regard the review and analysis by Italian Catholic Prof. Roberto de Mattei below), confirms, citing high-ranking Church officials very close to Francis, that Archbishop Viganò did not lie, but told the truth, when he said he informed Francis about McCarrick’s reputation in 2013.
Here below is Tosatti’s email.
“Astonishing. Sodom. Martel Writes that the Pope Knew about McCarrick.”
By Marco Tosatti, Sunday, February 17, 2019
Sodom, the book by [French self-described homosexual activist] Frederic Martel we have been dealing with in recent days, reserves sensational news.
According to the author, in the English version of the text, and we offer here our translation, Pope Bergoglio was really informed by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò of the past of predation towards seminarians and young priests, but he did not consider the fact so important.
And consequently not only did he relieve him of the restrictions that Benedict XVI had imposed on him (whose existence was confirmed, as well as by Viganò, by Cardinal Marc Ouellet) but he also used him as an advisor for appointments in the United States (the promotion of Kevin Farrell to Camerlengo and entrusting Blase Cupich with the organization of the summit on child abuse are the more recent confirmations, if ever they were needed) and he used him as his personal representatve both in the United States (with Obama) and abroad in China, Armenia, Iran and Cuba.
In our opinion, this is a case of an extraordinarily interesting “friendly fire”; because if there is someone of whom Frederic Martel speaks well, when not enthusiastically, in his long work, it is really Pope Bergoglio.
Martel, as we know, was helped and hosted by prelates in the Vatican, to carry out his task.
In a television interview, he mentioned at least four high prelates close to the Pope who favored and encouraged him. He said he had met the Director of Civiltà Cattolica, Antonio Spadaro sj several times; in the book there is an interview with Spadaro, and an interview with Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, the great director of the Synods (more or less pre-arranged) about the family and the young. He is a “famiglio” of the Pontiff, a man of his trust.
So we have to believe Martel, particularly because he puts the central phrase in quotes. Here is a little portion [of Martel’s new book] we have translated [with the key quotation at the end in italics]:
“…[Viganò names] cardinals and bishops of the Roman Curia and the American episcopate who, according to him [Viganò], took part in this huge cover-up: it is an endless list of names of prelates, among the most important in the Vatican, who were thus ‘outed,’ whether right or wrong. (When the Pope dismissed the allegations, his entourage indicated to me that Francis ‘was initially informed by Viganò that Cardinal McCarrick had had homosexual relations with over-age seminarians, which was not enough in his eyes to condemn him’).”
If Martel writes the truth — and there is no reason to believe the opposite, since he is certainly not a conservative homophobe Pharisee moralizing and hypocritical — some considerations are required.
The first: even though the seminarians were not under age, if a person hierarchically in a high position, and who can decide the fate of one of his subordinates, sexually harasses him, it is no longer a question of sex between consenting adults: there is a form of violence. Now we know that this fact does not seem important to the Pontiff. Or at least, not so important, at least not to favor and use the abuser until this bond becomes too embarrassing, and then sacrifice him to the public opinion.
Second: it is months and months that the Catholics are waiting for an answer: Did Viganò lie, or not? It seems that according to Martel, and according to the entourage of the Pontiff, he has told the truth.
So why not admit it? Why not to say, as a man and a Christian, “it’s true I was warned, but I thought it was not so serious. I was wrong in my judgment, forgive me”?
Such behavior would have a very different effect from the savage reactions with which the Pope’s hand and pen men, assisted by obliging mass media, were unleashed in the aggression of the person of Viganò, trying to ascribe the responsibilities of the ascent and of the glory of McCarrick to previous popes, trying to deny that Benedict XVI had imposed the restrictions that could be imposed on the state of affairs, and that these restrictions had in fact been canceled by Pope Bergoglio.
Let us not forget that the Nuncio Viganò wrote to Cardinal (Pietro) Parolin, Secretary of State, a letter asking whether the sanctions against McCarrick should be considered abolished. Without ever receiving an answer (…)
[end of the Tosatti email]
Here is an Associated Press report on the new book and its author.
A gay French writer has lifted the lid on what he calls one of the world’s largest gay communities — the Vatican.
Feb. 15, 2019, at 2:26 p.m.
BY NICOLE WINFIELD AND ANGELA CHARLTON, Associated Press
PARIS (AP) — A gay French writer has lifted the lid on what he calls one of the world’s largest gay communities, the Vatican, estimating that most of its prelates are homosexually inclined and attributing much of the current crisis in the Catholic Church to an internal struggle.
In the explosive book, “In the Closet of the Vatican,” author Frederic Martel describes a gay subculture at the Vatican and calls out the hypocrisy of Catholic bishops and cardinals who in public denounce homosexuality but in private lead double lives.
Aside from the subject matter, the book is astonishing for the access Martel had to the inner sanctum of the Holy See. Martel writes that he spent four years researching it in 30 countries, including weeks at a time living inside the Vatican walls. He says the doors were opened by a key Vatican gatekeeper and friend of Pope Francis who was the subject of the pontiff’s famous remark about gay priests, “Who am I to judge?”
In an interview Friday in a Paris hotel, Martel said he didn’t tell his subjects he was writing about homosexuality in the Vatican. But he said it should have been obvious to them since he is a gay man who was researching the inner world of the Vatican and has written about homosexuality before. He said it was easier for him, as a gay foreigner, to gain the trust of those inside the Vatican than it would have been for an Italian journalist or Vatican expert.
“If you’re heterosexual it’s even harder. You don’t have the codes,” he told The Associated Press. “If you’re a woman, even more so.”
Martel says he conducted nearly 1,500 in-person interviews with 41 cardinals, 52 bishops or monsignors, and 45 Vatican and foreign ambassadors, many of whom are quoted at length and in on-the-record interviews that he says were recorded. Martel said he was assisted by 80 researchers, translators, fixers and local journalists, as well as a team of 15 lawyers. The 555-page book is being published simultaneously in eight languages in 20 countries, many bearing the title “Sodom.”
The Vatican didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Martel appears to want to bolster Francis’ efforts at reforming the Vatican by discrediting his biggest critics and removing the secrecy and scandal that surrounds homosexuality in the church. Church doctrine holds that gays are to be treated with respect and dignity, but that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.”
“Francis knows that he has to move on the church’s stance, and that he will only be able to do this at the cost of a ruthless battle against all those who use sexual morality and homophobia to conceal their own hypocrisies and double lives,” Martel writes.
But the book’s Feb. 21 publication date coincides with the start of Francis’ summit of church leaders on preventing the sexual abuse of minors, a crisis that is undermining his papacy. The book isn’t about abuse, but the timing of its release could fuel the narrative, embraced by conservatives and rejected by the gay community, that the abuse scandal has been caused by homosexuals in the priesthood.
Martel is quick to separate the two issues. But he echoes the analysis of the late abuse researcher and psychotherapist A.W. Richard Sipe that the hidden sex lives of priests has created a culture of secrecy that allowed the abuse of minors to flourish. According to that argument, since many prelates in positions of authority have their own hidden sexual skeletons, they have no interest in denouncing the criminal pedophiles in their midst lest their own secrets be revealed.
“It’s a problem that it’s coming out at the same time (as the summit),” Martel acknowledged in the AP interview, adding that the book was finished last year but its release was delayed for translation. “But at the same time it’s, alas, the key to the problem. It’s both not the subject, and the subject.”
The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author of “Building a Bridge” about how the Catholic Church should reach out more to the LGBT community, said that based on the excerpts he had read, Martel’s book “makes a convincing case that in the Vatican many priests bishops and even cardinals are gay, and that some of them are sexually active.”
But Martin added that the book’s sarcastic tone belies its fatal flaw. “His extensive research is buried under so much gossip and innuendo that it makes it difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction.”
“There are many gay priests, bishops and cardinals in ministry today in the church,” Martin said. “But most of them are, like their straight counterparts, remaining faithful to a life of chastity and celibacy.”
In the course of his research, Martel said he came to several conclusions about the reality of the Holy See that he calls the “rules,” chief among them that the more obviously gay the priest, bishop or cardinal, the more vehement his anti-gay rhetoric.
Martel says his aim is not to “out” living prelates, though he makes some strong insinuations about those who are “in the parish,” a euphemism he learns is code for gay clergy.
Martin said Martel “traffics in some of the worst gay stereotypes” by using sarcastic and derogatory terms, such as when he writes of Francis’ plight: “Francis is said to be ‘among the wolves.’ It’s not quite true: he’s among the queens.”
Martel moves from one scandal to another — from the current one over ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington to the priest-friendly gay migrant prostitute scene near Rome’s train station. He traces the reasons behind Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation, and devotes a whole chapter to the cover-up of the Mexican founder of the Legion of Christ, the pedophile Rev. Marcial Maciel. In each, Martel parses the scandal through the lens of the gay-friendly or homophobic prelates he says were involved.
Equal parts investigative journalism and salacious gossip, Martel paints a picture of an institution almost at war with itself, rife with rumor and with leaders struggling to rationalize their own sexual appetites and orientations with official church teachings that require chastity and its unofficial tradition of hostility toward gays.
“Never, perhaps, have the appearances of an institution been so deceptive,” Martel writes. “Equally deceptive are the pronouncements about celibacy and the vows of chastity that conceal a completely different reality.”
Martel is not a household name in France, but is known in the French LGBT community as an advocate for gay rights. Those familiar with his work view it as rigorous, notably his 90-minute weekly show on public radio station France Culture called “Soft Power.” Recent episodes include investigations into global digital investment and the U.S.-China trade war.
As a French government adviser in the 1990s, he played a prominent role in legislation allowing civil unions, which not only allowed gay couples to formalize their relationships and share assets, but also proved hugely popular among heterosexual French couples increasingly skeptical of marriage.
His nonfiction books include a treatise on homosexuality in France over the past 50 years called “The Pink and the Black” (a sendup of Stendhal’s classic “The Red and the Black”), as well as an investigation of the internet industry and a study of culture in the United States.
Martel attributes the high percentage of gays in the clergy to the fact that up until the homosexual liberation of the 1970s, gay Catholic men had few options. “So these pariahs became initiates and made a strength of a weakness,” he writes. That analysis helps explain the dramatic fall in vocations in recent decades, as gay Catholic men now have other options, not least to live their lives openly, even in marriage.
Martel said no special interests financed the book, other than his advance from the publisher.
Here, from Rorate Caeli, is a review of the new book by Italian Catholic Professor Roberto de Mattei. De Mattei warns that the work is part of a larger effort seeking to “mainstream” homosexuality and homosexual activity in the teaching of the Church.
By Roberto de Mattei
February 14, 2019
An LGBT pamphlet against the Church. The title is “Sodom” and the author a well-known French LGBT activist. The book however, was hatched in Italy, during a conversation between the author and the publisher, Carlo Fetrinelli, son of Gian Giacomo, the publisher-terrorist who died in 1972, while placing a bomb on an Enel (Italian Electric Company) pylon in Segrate. “Sodom” will be presented within the next few days in eight languages and in about twenty countries.
The official launching of the book will take place on February 21, in conjunction with the Vatican conference dedicated to the sexual abuse of minors. What we are dealing here with then, is a powerful media operation, which has the Catholic Church as its target. The author of the book, Frédéric Martel, presented in the press at times with different titles i.e. sociologist, researcher and historian, has achieved a certain amount of fame for his last paper, Global Gay, translated into various languages (published in Italy by Feltrinelli), dedicated to the current triumphant march of the homosexual movement all over the world.
Involved directly in numerous associations active in the diffusion of the LGBT agenda, Martel has been engaged, for years, at the forefront, of the process in promoting and “normalizing” homosexuality. The LGBT “militancy” of the author of “Sodom” made him one of the leading promoters of Law n. 99-944 ( November 15, 1999) (Dupacte civil de solidarité et du concubinage), the so-called PACS, which introduced civil unions in France. Over the following years, the LGBT activist continued his involvement in the homosexual cause, dedicating numerous articles in favor of introducing pseudo-homosexual marriage in France, until its complete legalization on May 18, 2013.
Martel is now addressing sodomy in the Church, stating that he had conducted an “in situ” investigation over a period of 4 years, interviewing around 1500 people in the Vatican and various countries. In reality what the book is lacking is precisely documentation. After reading, we know nothing more than what we already did about the diffusion of homosexuality in the Church.
This extremely grave problem, brought to light by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s testimony, has been analyzed in a scientific and documented manner by two Polish scholars, Father Dario Oko and Father Andrzej Kobyliński, authors of studies that have been ignored by the international press. But Martel is not looking for the truth. He has an ideological thesis to display and in his pages he doesn’t reveal, but suggests, insinuates, calumniates and denigrates.
Monsignor Battista Ricca, called by Sandro Magister “the prelate of the gay lobby” opened the doors of the Vatican to him. “He explains painstakingly how to pass the control of the gendarme and the Swiss Guards. I am to meet a prelate with watery eyes, a ‘sniper’ close to Francis, who has known glory and downfall. As we shall see, he is the one I’m obliged to for being able to stay in one of the Vatican residences.”
The author recounts that he was installed in Rome for a week every month., “staying regularly inside the Vatican, thanks to the hospitality of high-level prelates who often revealed themselves as “part of the clique” ; about forty cardinals and hundreds of bishops, monsignors, priests and nuncios (the Pope’s ambassadors) agreed to meet me. Among them, purported homosexuals, there every day in the Vatican, allowed me to penetrate their world of insiders.”
Among his informers, we have Father Antonio Spadaro “a Jesuit considered one of the Pope’s eminence grise with whom I had regular discussions at the headquarters of the periodical La Civiltà Cattolica, of which he is the director.” He is the one who explains that “Cardinal Burke is at the head of the opposition to the Pope.” Cardinal Raymond Burke, to whom Martel dedicates a chapter of his book, is logically, one of his targets. His fault? That of categorically condemning homosexuality.
Martel’s thesis is that behind every “homophobe” in reality there lies a homosexual, but since nothing of this sort can be demonstrated against the American Cardinal, the French activist settles for a detailed caricatural description of the Cardinal’s very normal apartment. “The Cardinal – he writes –in his style of dressing and unusual gait, calls irresistibly to mind a drag-queen.” However, Martel admits, “Burke is one of the few who has had the courage of his opinions” as indeed has Monsignor Viganò, who seems to him “a trustworthy witness, his letter irrefutable; it appears to me nonetheless” – he adds – “that Viganò’s act is more irrational and solitary than one would want to believe; a desperate act; a personal vendetta which is first of all – fruit of a deep interior wound.”
What then are the homosexual churchmen guilty of? Not for having violated the moral law, but of being hypocrites and of not having given public witness to their vice. “Let me be clear; a priest or a cardinal should not be ashamed of being homosexual; I think rather that it should be a possible social status among many others.”
“[So] the men of the Church should say: we are homosexual and proud of it; the Church [should] say: I was wrong in condemning homosexuality.”
This is why Martel is a supporter of Pope Francis’ “reform”:
“Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation and Pope Francis’ resolve to reform, help set free the ‘word’. This Latin-American Pope is the first to have used the word ‘gay’ – not only the term ‘homosexual’ – and may be considered, in comparison to his predecessors, the most ‘gay-friendly’ among the modern Pontiffs. He has used both magical and contorted words about homosexuality. ‘Who am I to judge?’ And one might also think that this Pope doesn’t even have the tendency nor the inclination, which were instead attributed to four of his recent predecessors. Yet Francis is today the object of a violent campaign, due to his presumed liberalism on questions of sexual morality, pursued by conservative cardinals who are very ‘homophobic’ – and for the most part, secretly homophiles.”
“What Francis cannot bear, is not so much widespread homophilia, but the vertiginous hypocrisy of those who sustain an austere morality, despite having a companion, adventures and sometimes even escorts. For this reason he incessantly whips the fake devout, the insincere bigots and the Pharisees. This duplicity, this schizophrenia, have been frequently denounced by Francis in his morning homilies at Santa Marta. His formula merits being at the forefront of this book: ‘Behind the rigidity, there is always something hidden; in many cases a double life.’”
Martel, like Pope Francis, is convinced that behind every “homophobe” there hides a “homophile,” a man attracted, or obsessed by homosexuality, whether he practices it or not.
“It might also be said that there is an unwritten rule which is practically always true in Sodom: the more a prelate is a homophobe, the more the probability that he himself is homosexual.”
“The more a prelate is vehemently against ‘gays,’ the stronger his homophobic obsession is, the more probability that he is not sincere and that his vehemence is hiding something.”
The aim of the book? To destroy the Bastille of Catholic morality. “Fifty years after Stonewall — the gay revolution in the United States — the Vatican is the last bastion to get rid of! Many Catholics have now grasped the deception even before reading the description of Sodom.”
The steps to follow are: support and encourage the “Bergoglian Reform”; disqualify the Churchmen faithful to Tradition; impede the discussion inside the Church on the plague of homosexuality, above all, at the upcoming conference.
It must be noted, however, that the LGBT’s support of Pope Francis will not help him at all in the gravely difficult situation he finds himself; the cardinals and bishops demonized in this book, will emerge much stronger after this badly-conducted attack; and if the Presidents of the world Episcopal Conferences do not deal with the theme of homosexuality, the meeting of February 21-24 will be a [total] failure.
What can be considered a fiasco as of this moment however, is Frédéric Martel’s pamphlet.
Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana
[end, analysis of Prof. Roberto de Mattei]
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