In the latest scandal to rock the Catholic church, 34 priests and six seminarians were identified as homosexuals in an explosive dossier. Francesco Mangiacapra, who submitted the evidence, consisting of screenshots of chats on gay dating app Grindr, Telegram, Facebook and WhatsApp, said that he wanted to shed light on the hypocrisy of the members of the clergy and the impunity they feel within the Catholic church.
"The aim is not to hurt the people mentioned, but to help them understand that their double life, however seemingly convenient, is not useful to them or to all the people for whom they should be a guide and an example to follow,” Mangiacapra said, as cited by the Corriere della Sera.
According to Mangiacapra, none of the outed priests are suspected of pedophilia or any sexual offenses. What they are being accused of are “not crimes, but sins.”
Mangiacapra, who worked as a lawyer before becoming a self-proclaimed “gigolo” submitted the list with the names and the accompanied proof to the archdiocese of Naples late February, noting that although it was signed in his name the draft has been circulating on the web for some time.
Commenting on the files received, the head of the archdiocese, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe said that he decided to transfer the documents to the competent Vatican authorities, as, “there remains the gravity of the cases for which those who have erred must pay the price, and be helped to repent for the harm done.” The priests that were mentioned, he added, belong to different parishes and none of them hail from Naples.
Italian media, that have also been shown the incriminating dossier, cited excerpts of the conversations without revealing the names of those involved. "If you like it I'd like to have you a whole day like a slave, tied up and at my orders,” one of the lines reads, as cited by the Tiscali Notizie.The chats are said to be peppered with explicit photos.
It was first reported that over 50 clergymen could be involved in the scandal, as the first version of the list contained the names of 49 priests and 9 seminarians. However, Mangiacapra withdrew the original version, as some of the names mentioned by the clerics had no relations to their sexual escapades that also included group encounters.
Mangiacarpa’s name gained prominence after he exposed Father Luca Morini, who has been dubbed “Don Euro” for his lavish lifestyle allegedly at the expense of the parishioners. Morini, a former perisher of Fossone, Avena and Caniparola, is suspected of spending thousands of euros on male escort services, expensive restaurants, parties, luxury hotels and buying drugs for himself and to treat his lovers. The videos aired on popular Italian TV show Le Iene, which showed the priest taking cocaine with male escorts, while those that knew Morini for years confessed they were aware of his habit to extort money from the churchgoers by telling them that the saint mentioned their name, defrauding nuns and other priests. He is facing multiple charges, including embezzlement, fraud, drug distribution and blackmail. The police traced some $900,000 of cash and $180,000 of diamonds to the disgraced father. His preliminary trial is set to open on March 8.
The Catholic Church deems the homosexual acts “contrary to the natural law” that can be approved “under no circumstances.” However, it does not consider homosexual orientation to be a sin in itself until the person acts upon it.
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