It seems the Vatican is in hot water again. Previously, just before the election of Pope Francis I, it was reported the Holy See had bought shares in a gay sauna according to The Independent and originally noted in the local newspaper La Repubblica. Indeed, the Independent said:
“The Holy See is still reeling from allegations that the previous pontiff, Benedict XVI, had quit in reaction to the presence of a gay cabal in the curia. And with disgraced Scottish cardinal Keith O’Brien lending new weight to charges of hypocrisy against the Church’s stance on homosexuality, La Repubblica newspaper noted that the presence of “Italy’s best known gay sauna in the premises is an embarrassment.”
Now there are reports from Queer of a gay hookup site for priests called “The Venerabilis.” It is said to be controlled by a fraternity of “homo-sensitive priests looking for like-minded priests.” In other words, it is a called a Roman Catholic gay priest dating website. It offers sexual encounters and meet-ups. A Catholic writer of the Dallas Area Catholics wrote:
“This site is smart in that everyone operates under automatically generated IDs, but people are dumb and have left their personal e-mails all over the place. I bet a decent multilingual private investigator could identify dozens of people from the site in an afternoon’s work. And, if the sodomite mafia is as well established and widespread as we think it is, then it would make sense that there would be a great concentration in Rome, for that is where the levers of power are located. So no wonder there may be an excess, so to speak, there. Folks, don’t fool yourselves into believing this mafia is made up only of a few scattered bishops and maybe a cardinal or too. It is at least as widespread in the episcopate as it is in the regular clergy, and possibly even more so. Think about (it) for a while”.
Given the past scandals of the church, this should be no surprise. The problem is that officially the Roman Catholic Church condemns homosexuality as a sin yet seems to have no problem having gay priests within its own circles, and the Vatican even has ownership of a gay sauna on its own territory. Officially, the Church teaches that homosexuals are to remain celibate and says the same for its own priests and nuns. If these accounts are true, which they seem to be, then the Church is being hypocritical and needs to start being honest with its congregations.
I decided to investigate the website myself to see what the priests are saying to each other. It is located at http://venerabilis-fraternity.blogspot.com/2007/12/fraternitas-sacerdotalis-chat-english.html. Most of the site is in Italian and 4 other languages. One gay priest claims he is only seeking friendship and someone who can express himself religiously. Another ask for recommendations for people to meet while he is in Jerusalem. One young European seminarian is seeking the same in another man. An older priest seeks the passionate relationship with a younger priest. Other priests seek companionship and openly say so and how they can be contacted. It looks innocent at first glance, but this is clearly a Roman Catholic dating site. It is not a bad thing, but it is hypocritical.
The Roman Catholic Church has openly gay priests that clearly do not want to live a celibate life. I interviewed a great writer who left the RCC (Roman Catholic Church) because it conflicted with his sexuality and the teachings of the Church. If gay priests could be open about their life imagine how much of a liberated life that could be felt. They would not be in the closet and have to hide their relationships. Personally, I even know of a gay RCC priests in my city. Most of them attend a local seminary. The Vatican needs to address the issue and declare, as many other denominations have, that being gay is not a sin. They may want to reconsider the celibacy tradition as it seems that at least some are not following the rule. I also know of gay Catholics that are not priests and not celibate and want their church to change. The group is Dignity USA (http://www.dignityusa.org/) and they seek affirmation in their Church and do not seek to leave it. Regardless of how you feel on the issue, the issues addressed here need to be discussed and the Church should not condemn gays and lesbians while seemingly openly being in relationships regarding the priesthood and lay people alike.