The Catholic Church has become notorious over the last couple of decades for its sex scandals. The tragic irony of the "moral and pious" engaging in horrific acts of abusing children has become a trope at this point.
Another kind of scandal, but one of the church's own making, has happened before and is now happening again and involves clergy having consensual sex with adults. Why is it scandalous? Well, because these are male clergy engaging in homosexual sex with male prostitutes.
One wonders how these clergymen have not exploded from the insane amount of hypocrisy. They engage in homosexual acts with male prostitutes, and then go and preach from the pulpit about the sinfulness of homosexuality, prostitution, and lustful thoughts. And that brings us to the main story.
This latest case involves Francesco Mangiacapra, a gay male escort in Italy who sent evidence to the Archdiocese of Naples that he was involved in sexual activities with 34 priests and 6 seminary students in Italy.
Mangiacapra compiled a 1,200 page dossier full of "explicit WhatsApp messages, erotic photos and other evidence." Pardon the pun, but holy shit that is pretty intense. I mean, 1,200 pages. That's a lot of... uh... blessed raunchiness.
The motivation behind Mangiacapra putting the dossier together is in line with my comments on hypocrisy above. He told the press, "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."
The Archdiocese of Naples has sent the dossier to the Vatican for review. It remains to be seen how Vatican officials will respond, although they have a poor record of responding to sexual scandals within their church. And the church is very clear on their stance regarding homosexuality. Just read the Bible. In the Old Testament you have passages in Leviticus, like this one and this one. And in the New Testament, St. Paul did not mince words when he wrote about homosexuality.
This story reminds me of a scandal involving a famous American evangelical preacher who was outed more than 10 years ago by a male escort. Ted Haggard, a famously anti-gay evangelical pastor, was outed by Mike Jones, a male escort. Jones and Haggard exchanged accusations on various media before Haggard resigned in disgrace. He now leads a much smaller church, avoiding the kind of attention-grabbing stunts he was known for before the scandal.
In my opinion, Mangiacapra did a very helpful thing. This kind of extreme hypocritical behavior is also why American evangelicals are becoming increasingly embarrassed by the label. Faithful people are having a harder and harder time reconciling the cognitive dissonance of what their leaders preach and what their leaders do or who their leaders support politically.
In the end, events like this help more and more people realize the inanity that comprises religion.