Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the Vicar of Rome and one of the Vatican’s top leaders, wants gay priests to come out of the closet. And get the hell out of the Catholic Church.
The surprisingly candid remarks come on the heels of a report in Panorama Magazine — owned by Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, which itself is a big deal — that claims it has video footage of three Catholic priests (two Italian and one French, but the magazine isn’t, yet, naming names) going to gay clubs and having sex with men. “By day they are regular priests, complete with dog collar, but, at night it’s off with the cassock as they take their place as perfectly integrated members of the Italian capital’s gay scene,” reads a preview of the article distributed to the press. A reporter used a gay “accomplice” and “gate-crashed the wild nights of a number of priests in Rome who live a surprising double-life.”
The report will only add to the Catholic Church’s headaches, which range from child abuse scandals that are engulfing the pope to a Connecticut priest fleecing the church to pay for male escorts to a male prostitution ring being run out of the Vatican. But video footage is always the most damning, and its imminent release will further scar the church’s already sullied reputation.
But it’s Cardinal Vallini’s remarks that are most surprising. Rather than further shield gay priests, he’s now demanding they come out of the shadows and leave their flocks. See? Something we can all agree on: It’s best when all the gays come out!