A new book due out later this month claims to reveal a flourishing gay scene for priests in Rome -- a thorny issue as the Catholic Church imposes chastity on its clergy and condemns homosexuality.
Investigative journalist Carmelo Abbate's book "Sex and the Vatican: a secret journey in the reign of the chaste" will come out in Italian and French and includes anonymous testimonies from priests and undercover reporting. "Priests of all nationalities divide their time between Via della Conciliazione (the main road leading to St. Peter's basilica) and the party scene of Rome by night," the book's editors Piemme said in a press release.
The book also documents heterosexual relations between priests and lay women and the existence of children of priests. Abbate has said he is not anti-clergy but aims to break the culture of secrecy surrounding the sex life of priests. An article he published in Panorama magazine last year created a scandal. The diocese of Rome in response to that article said it was "determined to investigate rigorously any type of behaviour that shames the priesthood." sked about Abbate's new book, the Vatican declined any comment. A spokesman for the influential Italian bishops conference said: "We can't react to all books that speak badly of the Church."The Vatican does not deny that there are gay priests and has said there should be tougher rules against homosexuality in seminaries. Vatican expert Marco Tosatti said that some priests "can also have homosexual tendencies but remain chaste and pious."