BILGRIMAGE BLOG Wednesday, March 20, 2019


More on Frédéric Martel’s In the Closet of the Vatican: The Dark Heart of Martel’s Story — Corruption of Pretend Heterosexuality Coupled with Abominable Treatment of Queer People
I have now made my way about halfway through Frédéric Martel’s In the Closet of the Vatican, trans. Shaun Whiteside (London: Bloomsbury, 2019), and am finding the book grim going. It’s, as many commentators have noted, eye-popping, and overwhelming in the detail with which it tells — and documents — its story of corruption. To quote Mary Oliver in her poem “The Chance to Love Everything,” this is for me the dark heart of the story here: it’s a story of incredible corruption running through the governing structures and clerical culture of a major Christian institution, a story that does a very convincing job, I think, of rooting that corruption genetically in the intense homophobia of the governing elite of this institution.
This passage leaps out at me:

It was when I met the cardinals, bishops and priests who worked with him that I discovered the hidden side – the dark side – of his very long pontificate. A pope surrounded by plotters, thugs, a majority of closeted homosexuals, who were homophobes in public, not to mention all those who protected paedophile priests.
“Paul VI had condemned homosexuality, but it was only with the arrival of John Paul II that a veritable war was waged against gays,” I was told by a Curia priest who worked at John Paul II’s ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Irony of history: most of the players in this boundless campaign against homosexuals were homosexual themselves” (p. 194).

This is an important passage, it seems to me. Due to the intense adulation of many media folks of the rock-star pope John Paul II, few commentators have been willing to touch the corruption that surrounded him in his papal court — and the quite specific source of that corruption in the intense, vicious homophobia of many of the corrupt men surrounding John Paul II, who themselves had homosexual secrets in many cases.

While hiding those homosexual secrets, they chose to mount war against the queer community, combating its rights, scapegoating LGBT people — especially for the abuse crisis in the church — and targeting theologians calling for compassionate outreach to queer people.

So much of the corruption in the church right now is rooted in this historical matrix of the papacy of St. John Paul the Great — though it may take many years before people who are no longer blinded by the rock-star glitz of that image-savvy pope to recognize this.

And then there’s this grimly funny passage in Martel’s book:

For conservatives, lending credence to Viganò’s testament meant shooting themselves in the foot, while at the same time risking involvement in a civil war where any means were permitted. There are probably more closeted homosexuals on the right than on the left of the Church, and the boomerang effect would be devastating (p. 52).

Homophobic hard-right Catholics were initially deliriously happy that Viganò was bashing the gays and exposing the gays inside the hierarchy.

Then they realized that the gays included them and their heroes, and they had walked into a trap.

Bash McCarrick, and you immediately have to confront the fact that St. John Paul the Great elevated him to powerful positions — having received reports, we now know, about McCarrick’s sexual propensitiies and activities.

It’s hard to bash the gays in the church when you have people like Raymond Burke at your helm, and when your papal heroes — St. John Paul the Great and Benedict XVI — were surrounded by gobs and gobs of right-wing gay hierarchs.

The commentary of Louis Cornellier in his essay about Martel’s book “L’Église survivra-t-elle à Sodome?”seems to me right on target. Cornellier writes,

[Martel writes,] “Derrière la majorité des affaires d’abus sexuels, suggère-t-il, se trouvent des prêtres et des évêques qui ont protégé les agresseurs en raison de leur propre homosexualité et par peur qu’elle puisse être révélée en cas de scandale. La culture du secret qui était nécessaire pour maintenir le silence sur la forte prévalence de l’homosexualité dans l’Église a permis aux abus sexuels d’être cachés et aux prédateurs d’agir.”
Martel montre même que cette culture du silence, à son apogée sous les règnes de Jean-Paul II et de Benoît XVI, explique en partie une foule de malversations financières vaticanes, les compromissions de divers cardinaux avec les dictatures argentine, chilienne et cubaine et la répression de la théologie de la libération dont les grandes figures, note Martel, ‘étaient des religieux manifestement non gays’ alors que leurs adversaires ‘étaient, eux, des homophiles ou des homosexuels pratiquants.

[My rough translation: “Behind the majority of cases of sexual abuse, he (a priest interviewed by Martel) suggests, can be found priests and bishops who have protected the abusers due to their own homosexuality and out of fear that it might be revealed as scandal. The culture of secrecy that has been necessary for maintaining silence about the overweening prevalence of homosexuality in the church has permitted sexual abuse cases to be kept hidden and predators to prey.”

Martel shows, even, that this culture of silence, at its zenith in the papal reigns of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, helps in part to explain a plethora of embezzlement cases in the Vatican, the compromised behavior of several cardinals involved with dictatorships in Argentina, Chile, and Cuba, and the repression of liberation theology, the chief promoters of which, Martel notes, “were religious who were manifestly not gay,” while their adversaries “were themselves homophlies or practicing homosexuals.”]

It’s not the corruption of homosexuality itself, then. It’s not, as we’ve been told for far too long by these very same people in the bosom of the church, the (non-existent) corruption of having a homosexual sexual orientation, of having been shaped queer by God’s hands.

It’s the corruption of pretend heterosexuality coupled with abominable treatment of queer people — all engineered by homosexual clerics posturing as heterosexual — that’s the very dark heart of the corruption within the Catholic institution. So much of the corruption — real corruption, as in Vatican financial shenanigans and policies throwing progressive priests in Latin America to murderous wolves — begins with this dark heart of the story.

While people’s attention has been diverted to the non-existent corruption of simply having a gay sexual orientation, real, toxic corruption has spread through the Catholic institution as closeted, hateful gay clerics have attacked open, self-accepting gay people, while pretending to uphold and live by moral rules they themselves do not live by at all, those mounting these ugly attacks.

And here’s the nadir of this approach to being Catholic at this point in history:

His [Marcial Maciel’s] way of life was also highly unusual for the times – and for a priest. This father – who showed absolute humility in public, and great modesty on all occasions – lived privately in an armoured apartment, stayed in luxury hotels on his foreign travels and drove incredibly expensive sports cars. He also had false identities, kept two women by whom he would have at least six children, and had no hesitation in abusing his own sons, two of whom have since registered complaints against him.
In Rome, where he went often in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, he was welcomed as a humble servant of the Church by Paul VI and as a guest star by his “personal friend” John Paul II (p. 234).

Put the title “Saint” in front of John Paul’s name here, and you’ll see starkly what I mean by corruption running through the Catholic institution, but especially its clerical club — corruption directly related to the attempt to stigmatize as corrupt every human being in the world shaped queer by God’s hands. While the very persons disseminating that toxic message making queer people susceptible to scorn and violence are tightly guarding their own homosexual secrets ….


John Paul 11 was guilty of the most appalling crimes of cover up of abuse criminality.

He was not fit to be a modern saint.

He was a major cover up merchant.

He was an abuse cover upper.

He is no saint.

He was a truth cover upper and a liar.

He is now a disgraced politician.

May he be recognised as a political failure


All of this is bang on target. The intellectual underpinning of this dissonance and dysfunction is the religious right’s claim to own the truth, as if this were a package delivered by God either to the Pope or the editors of Scripture. We have to accept that the Church can get it wrong and so needs to re-evaluate in the light of lived experience just like every other field of knowledge. Above this means get real over sex and sexuality.


5.41 Begorra hi that 5.41 seems to be on the nose hi. Sure the the snow white witches are so busy admiring themselves in thauld mirror they forget where true Fairness lies but


The agreement was to stick to the topic in hand. They have been very agreeable. They have looked after us very well, including putting us in a hotel outside Rome for the weekend.
I do not believe in excommunication.


I hope you have the permission of the Head of the Catholic Church in Ireland to be in Rome. It’s common courtesy.


No doubt 8:39 still thinks the pope is the prisoner in the Vatican. That really is one of the most ridiculous comments here ever, and gives away what these people’s ‘religion’ is really about: control and power.


The Vatican does protocol really well. Francis is having a reputation recently of welcoming back schismatics.


Archbishop Eamon Martin is the Metropolitan in Ulster so should be informed when his subordinate bishops visit the Holy See.



He may be ‘Head of the Catholic Church in Ireland’, but he certainly isn’t its balls.

Guffaw, guffaw, guffaw 😤



At 8.39. There is no such role, no such title and no such entity. (Apart from Jesus Christ). The head of the bishops’ conference is simply that.


This excrementation or whatever it is hi is a throwback to the Middle Ages when fear of hell was bigger than fear of God hi. Some people’s never get the point but. And sure the Lord himself only left 2000 years ago Plenty of time yet hi


My wife and I are not happy with you doing all this stuffing your face in Rome and no doubt drinking copious amount of wine. Sorry to say that you are just a pig like the other clergy we see in restaurants filling their cake holes and using the collection money.


I think you will find the reason the hierarchy want to speak to people in person is that it reduces the chance of there being evidence of the meeting, and thus less evidence that they knew things if the sh*t hits the fan or the press. Another long-standing trick is to make reassurances to the complainant that action will be taken, particularly when they have no intention of acting. A telephone call or Skype would mean the conversation was more likely to be recorded and in fact this way of meeting Pat ensures the hierarchy’s policy of putting nothing into writing is followed. They don’t care that they are spending the sheep’s money on this. If you don’t like the way they spend your money, wake up and stop giving it to them.


The next time you and your auld heifer of a wife are out in some hostelry, spying as you are shovelling grub in your big ugly fat gobs, I hope you both end up with an absolute tsunami attack of the shits afterwards. 😂😂😂


11.27 Again you have spotted a trend. Thauld clergy like th fork n spoon hi. On an innocent level it’s just social and a way to feed a basic instinct and compromise on the fact that Willie has been oficcialy decommissioned hi. Gets dangerous when urges are vented through unhealthy and unnatural outlets. I’m not talking about orientation but off the wall feudal extremism hi. And the money hi. What else has a poor auld padre got for comfort. Sure God will understand hi. Is God part of the padre parade club anymore but
PS is it fair that non clergy feed their cakeholes in restaurants too. Sure th money could have been given to the poor


Your Excellency,
I have long wanted to be excommunicated from the RC church. Some years ago I stopped going to Mass and am certainly in a state of mortal sin. Is this ipso facto enough to consider myself excommunicated? I do not wish to be merely a lapsed Catholic but actively want to be cut off, as it were.


I understand. The only way you can be excommunicated is to support an abortion or strike Francis.


And I’m not a gynaecologist and wouldn’t want the jail time!
Although I see you can become an apostate by writing to the bishop. Perhaps if I began ‘Dear Nursey’ he would excommunicate me as well…


Actually six actions carry a latae sententiae (automatic) sentence of excommunication and six others may lead to the same result.


Please list all twelve, I’m hoping there’s one that is easier than getting consecrated a bishop etc…


1.08 Tis simple hi Walk with your feet. But turning back on Church can’t be turning back on God. If you are still Christian the challenge is to find another appropriate place to worship even in this imperfect world


Buckley you should be staying in a religious house in Rome simply and humbly. But no, you’re in the Wardof Astoria and we spotted you.


I am here now to talk to an American couple we met in St. Peter’s Square yesterday. They are having a massive health crisis just now.
I am staying in an AIRBNB in Pratti.


Kevin Connolly needs to bring closure to the Stamullen incidnet with Stephen Wilson. One shudders to think. Kevin Connolly, ‘Ken the Lumber Jack Man ‘,


Some lunatic yesterday claimed that Francis was the most popular pope ever. Compare and contrast the congregations at John Paul II’s Mass in the Phoenix park and the one celebrated there by Francis.


Ahh! The 1979 papal visit to Ireland by that morally two-faced Pole. He knowingly promoted abusers (or abuse-ennablers), despite knowing their backgrounds. Men like McCarrick and Law.
The sheep weren’t aware of such things back in the ecclesial dark ages, of1979. But they are now, and many of them are turning against these so-called shepherds, whether dead or alive.
The sheep now know that the hypocritical Pole carried on a, er, ‘friendship’ 😅 with a female Polish philosopher for many years, and he knew she had more than platonic feelings for hir. AND she was already married.😲


Why was Bishop Joe Duffy never made Pope? Ok, he covered up for Fr Jack McCabe and gave him a good reference which helped him get a job in another school but such actions did Francis no harm as he went up the greasy pole.
Hope you had a gelato or two, Pat, and maybe even a Grappa. Safe travels home.


Joe Duffy still turns up at Clogher events, unabashed. He’s more shameless than Sean B Brady or Theresa May.


It’s amazing how Francis, who was a young SJ provincial (though even he admits it was a shipwreck) then became an auxiliary bishop, archbishop, cardinal and pope still condemns clericalised. He’s not done too badly out of it.


At 12:41 This must be the weakest and most pathetic piece of begrudgery on hear this year.


Pat, are you flinging yourself about at the Fontana Trevi or in front of the Swiss Guards? (A friend spotted you on Via Conciliazione….).Or are enjoying the dolce vita? No better place than Roma. Will you attend Mass in St. Peter’s tomorrow? You should…..


Why should he? There is, and ever can ever be, only one Mass, the Last Supper. And Bishop Pat, like ANY other Catholic (whether independent or not), is qualified to ‘do this in memory of me’, since Christ himeslf set down no qualifications or conditions.😆


Ooooohhh, give me the details, please, do please ! I’m local. Is he cute ? Bristol / Clifton…..wasn’t there a cathedral dean there who liked to swan around in Levi 501s ? I think he’s moved on to military gear these days. Neither suits a man of a certain age. Should have stuck to the monsignorial scarlet. Bitchy, I know….but….


Levi 501s were all the rage in 1980s Maynooth, lol. The lads now wear Jack & Jones or if richer Replay.


A GAY Mass?!
I’ll wager queers could do a better, more artistic, more fabrically aware, more meaningful Mass than those obvious straights, like Cardinal Raymond Berk, Archbishop Vigano, etc.😆😆


How can a sem set up a Mass you idiot? Name the sem if you dare and I will take legal action against you immediately


Oh Scottie. I know who you are. Howz it hanging sister? Did you get a knock back today that has turned you straight? Greetings to my Oscot girls x


And bad Protestant theology @ 10:50 and 12:06.

A more literal and exact translation of Jesus’ command would be “Do this towards my memorial.”

“Mass” is the colloquial word to designate Christians’ eucharistic assemblies post-Last Supper and post-Calvary.

Trent’s legacy is succintly phrased thus: “The Mass is the same sacrifice as that of the cross though offered in a different manner.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s