Pharyngula

Back when we bought our house, one of the things that we liked about it is that it’s a somewhat quirky place, with an odd layout and a few old 50s touches. One thing I didn’t care for is the decor of the upstairs; it’s got this vivid scarlet carpeting everywhere, and one of the bedrooms was (it’s been repainted now) wallpapered with bright green shamrocks. I joked that we could open a brothel for leprechauns up there if we wanted to make a little extra money.

You know, if I’d been moving into the Vatican, instead, I’d probably have made a similar joke — all that garish, gaudy excess and all the men wondering around in flamboyant dress would have probably moved me to joke that we could open a brothel for gay priests here.

What do you know, it’s true. There is a gay prostitution scandal in the Vatican right now. I am in awe. On top of the child abuse scandals in Ireland and Germany, this is just icing on top of a rotten, wormy, corrupt cake.

And this afternoon, I’m going to have to sweep the upstairs bedroom for any sneaky leprechauns.

Comments

  1. #1 n1l0c2501
    March 5, 2010

    Is anyone actually surprised by this? Really?

  2. #2 harmer
    March 5, 2010

    I suppose this shouldn’t be all that surprising. Bunch of men who aren’t allowed to marry all in their own little world. Has to be a fairly high proportion of men who go into the priesthood initially because they don’t like men anyway, and amazingly turn out to be gay. And scripture isn’t enough to hold them from their homosexual thoughts?!

    Still, good news, one further step down the rabbit hole for the Vatican! I love it.

  3. #3 Stephen Wells
    March 5, 2010

    “Angelo Balducci, a Gentleman of His Holiness, was caught by police on a wiretap…”

    Gentleman of His Holiness? Isn’t that code for the Pope’s penis?

    BTW, tell me the photo at the top of the Guardian article (PZ’s first link , “it’s true”) wasn’t chosen by someone with a keen sense of humour. It looks like the Papal Fellatio Conga Line.

  4. #4 jameslawrence01
    March 5, 2010

    Is anyone actually surprised by this? Really?

    Actually yes, I’m shocked

    I would have thought PZ could afford a couple of gallons of emulsion to cover that horrible sounding wallpaper.

  5. #5 jameslawrence01
    March 5, 2010

    I should have read that properly- sorry PZ for doubting your DIY skillz.

  6. #6 philzombi
    March 5, 2010

    Three pillars support the catholic church: rum, sodomy, and the lash.

  7. #7 Holytape
    March 5, 2010

    Well, one of their most holy rites is to have the flesh of a man placed on their tongue by an older man. They even call it a miracle and get all sorts of pissed off when young men spit instead of swallow. They have a conniption fit if a woman tries to do that. Because apparently, having a woman put the flesh of a man into their mouths isn’t gay enough.
    Noah’s ark

  8. #8 Multicellular
    March 5, 2010

    In January this year, the Carabinieri recorded an exchange in which Balducci and Ehiem discuss a seminarian, or student for the priesthood. Balducci is said to have asked: “Listen, have you spoken with the seminarian by any chance?”

    I’ll let the double-entendre speak for itself.

  9. #9 Dutch Courage
    March 5, 2010

    You can add the Netherlands in the sad list of child abuse scandals by the roman catholic church. The story started to develop last week and seems like it was not incidental abuse by a single person.

  10. #10 F
    March 5, 2010

    Big Gay Al’s Big Gay Vatican Sanctuary.

    Sweet.

  11. #11 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 5, 2010

    One thing I didn’t care for is the decor of the upstairs; it’s got this vivid scarlet carpeting everywhere, and one of the bedrooms was (it’s been repainted now) wallpapered with bright green shamrocks.

    My inner designer is screaming.

  12. #12 MAJeff, OM
    March 5, 2010

    And to shift the focus and try to blame the gays for everything…married people no longer get health insurance!

  13. #13 macbethjn
    March 5, 2010

    What stands out to me in that article is that Balducci was both a member of the Pope’s household bureaucracy and a member of the Italian government. So what we have here is 1) an Italian official with a history of corruption who 2) works for the Vatican, where he was first employed, at the same time. How can the Italian government claim to be wholly separate from the Vatican when it is not only appointing Vatican officials to positions of public governance, but retaining them there despite arrests for corruption?

  14. #14 hyperdeath
    March 5, 2010

    This prejudice against prostitution rings is the last acceptable bigotry.

  15. #15 llewelly
    March 5, 2010

    harmer | March 5, 2010 8:42 AM:

    Has to be a fairly high proportion of men who go into the priesthood initially because they don’t like men anyway, and amazingly turn out to be gay.

    Er, wait, what?

  16. #16 F
    March 5, 2010
  17. #17 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 5, 2010

    Has to be a fairly high proportion of men who go into the priesthood initially because they don’t like men anyway, and amazingly turn out to be gay.

    hababhbahabhabha

    uh

    WHAT?

  18. #18 Kevin Anthoney
    March 5, 2010

    Not a good day for the Catholic Church:

    Nun cured by Pope falls ill again

  19. #19 Zeno
    March 5, 2010

    I am shocked—shocked—to learn that sodomy is going on in this establishment!

    Just as I am stunned to learn that my parents’ right-wing family-values Republican state senator hangs out at gay bars in Sacramento. (I’m pretty certain that dear old Dad will not want to talk about this at the family’s Easter dinner.)

  20. #21 Larry
    March 5, 2010

    And in other gay news:

    http://cbs13.com/local/ashburn.arrest.dui.2.1534505.html

    Seems like June is bustin’ out all over!

  21. #22 'Tis Himself, OM
    March 5, 2010

    The Catholic Church has always been hypocritical about sex. On the one hand they think it’s the nastiest, most evil thing on the Earth (Augustine claimed that even sex for procreation was sinful). On the other hand the church actively supported and protected priestly pedophiles.

    That an unofficially sanctioned gay prostitute ring operated out of the Vatican doesn’t surprise me in the least. True to form, the church’s reaction is dismay over the PR issues, with the idea anyone had done anything immoral being a far distant second.

  22. #23 G.D.
    March 5, 2010

    But one has to clear about what the scandal here is. Male prostitution? No. I just won’t accept that it is a scandal that some guy had sex with some other guy, even if money was involved. I am perfectly okay with that. Don’t even raise an eyebrow. The scandal is the hypocrisy surrounding it – the catholic bigotry and battle against other people’s sexual behavior, preferences and interests relative to their own indulgences. This one is a hypocrisy scandal, not a sex scandal. The child abuse ones are, of course, very different.

  23. #24 Jason A.
    March 5, 2010

    Lol @ the picture the Guardian used of the pope looking creepy at the end of a line of clergymen…

  24. #25 mikeinmaine
    March 5, 2010

    Please stop using the words “gay” and “homosexual” in reference to popes, priests, and other catholics.

    I’m gay, and such references sicken me.

    Also: stop calling $%#@**ing and %*&$@#ing “sodomy.” Just call them $%#@**ing and %*&$@#ing.

    Beside, we do not reside in Sodom.

  25. #26 JD
    March 5, 2010

    “Gentlemen of His Holiness” — the best name ever for a Catholic gay strip club.

  26. #27 startlingmoniker
    March 5, 2010

    I often wonder about design like that– I’ve got a TINY half-bath with textured gold wallpaper, something like thick raised velvet over a shiny background. It’s amazingly tacky, like casino design afterbirth. Following a toilet leak, I removed the bright blue shag carpet to reveal a gold-flecked, yellow linoleum underneath.

    …And to tie it back into the article, we’ve always joked that it looks like a miniature Vatican. If it wouldn’t be a terrifically creepy place to do one’s business, I would SO top it off with dozens of little framed pictures of nuns.

  27. #28 tsg
    March 5, 2010

    Lol @ the picture the Guardian used of the pope looking creepy at the end of a line of clergymen…

    Why does that remind me of the scene in History of the World Part 1 with Madeline Kahn choosing her escorts for the orgy.

    “Yes, no, no, no, no, no, no, yes, no, no, no, no, no, no, yes, no, no, yes, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, ….”

  28. #29 CalGeorge
    March 5, 2010

    The Pope is now working up plans for an all-castrati choir.

  29. #30 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 5, 2010

    Also: stop calling $%#@**ing and %*&$@#ing “sodomy.” Just call them $%#@**ing and %*&$@#ing.

    Beside, we do not reside in Sodom.

    you can use the dirty words in all their glory here.

    fuck fuck fuckity fuck assfuck

  30. #31 harmer
    March 5, 2010

    Women, whoops, bit of a type or freudian slip.

  31. #32 llewelly
    March 5, 2010

    G.D. | March 5, 2010 9:40 AM:

    The scandal is the hypocrisy surrounding it – the catholic bigotry and battle against other people’s sexual behavior, preferences and interests relative to their own indulgences. This one is a hypocrisy scandal, not a sex scandal. The child abuse ones are, of course, very different.

    If you read the linked articles, you will see there’s another scandal beyond the hypocrisy. They’re taking advantage of undocumented immigrants.

  32. #33 Stephen Wells
    March 5, 2010

    Incidental note: biblically, the crime of Sodom is, according to Ezekiel 16.49, this: “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy”.

    So describing the Vatican as a nest of Sodomites would be only appropriate.

  33. #34 CitizenJoe
    March 5, 2010

    “all the men wondering around in flamboyant dress ”

    I think you meant “wander”

    Or maybe not. Paging Mrs. Malaprop.

  34. #35 Moveable Type
    March 5, 2010

    Is this what they call a seminal moment?

  35. #36 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 5, 2010

    Is this what they call a seminal moment?

    that was painful

  36. #37 andrew h
    March 5, 2010

    man.. don’t say anything about wormy cake again. i like cake. ugh.

  37. #38 abutsimehc
    March 5, 2010

    Photo of the Papal Choir via Google. (Sorry, won’t load.)
    Caption supplied by a seminarian visiting the midnight christmas mass …

    “The Papal Choir – a.k.a. the Sistine Screamers, because they have 10 year old boys with very high voices”

    Well, the pope isn’t producing many castrati anymore.

  38. #39 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawl3TpOVyxxwCT5cVU3M80c_cpxoMBZmiOQ
    March 5, 2010

    Please also consider to sign this petition to remove the 10 year expiration of sexual abuse crimes in German civil law. Most of the uncovered case are from the 60s and 70s, so the criminals cannot be prosecuted anymore unless this expiration time is removed!

    http://norbert.denef.com/petition/?l=en

  39. #40 uselesstwit
    March 5, 2010

    The real question is if they were trying to get male prostitutes for sex or to find out about the business model. I mean they have access to a lot of lonely males and those child abuse lawsuits aren’t going to pay for themselves.

  40. #41 IaMoL
    March 5, 2010

    Headline from UK Paper:

    Vatican chorister and usher in gay prostitution scandal
    One of Pope Benedict’s ceremonial ushers and a member of an elite choir in St Peter’s Basilica have been implicated in a gay prostitution ring, in the latest sexual scandal to taint the Vatican.

    Sneaky, cheeky head line writer WIN!

  41. #42 Moveable Type
    March 5, 2010

    Ah! Rev.BigDumbChimp but ve haf der lubrication nicht var?

  42. #43 abutsimehc
    March 5, 2010

    Any word from Bill Donohue yet?

    About the scandal OR this thread?

  43. #44 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    March 5, 2010

    There really is not much use for women in the Vatican City, is there. Well, except as outsourced breeders to keep the population up.

  44. #45 Zeno
    March 5, 2010

    Also: stop calling $%#@**ing and %*&$@#ing “sodomy.”

    It serves the Church right to have its own language tossed back in its face. The dress-wearing priests call it sodomy and now their skirts are being hoisted by their own petard.

  45. #46 Thorne
    March 5, 2010

    There really is not much use for women in the Vatican City, is there. Well, except as outsourced breeders to keep the population up.

    I wouldn’t say that!

    And it seems to be happening everywhere.

  46. #47 Momo
    March 5, 2010

    I can’t wait for my religion teachers spin on this one!

  47. #48 Brownian, OM
    March 5, 2010

    Look; I’m performing exegesis:

    Balducci is also a member of an elite group called “Gentlemen of His Holiness” ? ushers who are called to serve in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace on major occasions such as when the pope receives heads of state or presides at big events

    Can I get a head pat from Mooney?

  48. #49 seiryoden
    March 5, 2010

    In other Vatican news:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/05/nun-cured-pope-parkinsons-ill

    The nun that was “cured” by JPII’s miracle? Not so much…

  49. #50 David Marjanovi?
    March 5, 2010

    Noah’s ark

    Link doesn’t work.

  50. #51 Bob L
    March 5, 2010

    Gee, now we know who come religious leaders talk so confidently about how gay men are child molesters. Yes, if your experience of homosexuals was limited to the Catholic church you too would think all gay men are child molesters.

  51. #52 vanharris
    March 5, 2010

    Who would?a guessed? And that pope fellah could?ve avoided this incident

    The Pope woke up early one morning with a huge erection. Thinking that it wasn’t very Catholic, he tried to get rid of it. Unfortunately, walking around the room, thinking about the Bible and even getting some fresh air on the balcony all failed to soften him up. With only one option left, he sat down on the balcony and did what needed to be done.

    Later, he was walking around Rome when a man with a camera approached him. “Hello, Mr Pope,” the man said. “Six o’clock this morning, on the balcony, I think you know what I’m talking about.”

    “I’m sorry, I don’t know what you mean,” the Pope replied.

    “Oh, I think you do,” the man retorted, “and 50 thousand will buy you the camera.”

    Worried and confused, the Pope paid up and took the camera.

    Back in the Vatican, one of the Pope’s aides asked about the camera. “A chap in town sold it to me for 50 thousand,” the Pope explained.

    “50 thousand?!” exclaimed the aide. “Wow, he must have seen you coming.”

    ?and saved himself a lot of embarrassment.

  52. #53 Rorschach
    March 5, 2010

    Not going well for the bigots worldwide, is it ?

    How pleasant to see the RCC self-destruct a little bit more with every abused child….

  53. #54 Brownian, OM
    March 5, 2010

    It serves the Church right to have its own language tossed back in its face. The dress-wearing priests call it sodomy and now their skirts are being hoisted by their own petard.

    vat·i·can·y

    ?noun
    1. copulation with a member of the same or opposite sex, when practiced in secret in an organised fashion by professed religious celibates or monogamists with someone other than their lawful spouse
    2. the practice of disguising or concealing the existence of a prostitution ring for the use of professed religious celibates or monogamists
    3. lateral or vertical promotion of a member of the clergy known for having sex with children or minors for the purpose of preventing investigation or exposure
    4. the only kind of sex religious conservatives seem to have

    Examples:

    “In the news this week: a former member of the evangelical Christian organization the Fellowship Foundation alleges that C Street Center, at the centre of the sex scandals of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and Senator John Ensign, is known among well-connected evangelicals as a place to engage in vaticany.”

    “My director, who was infamous for inappropriate behaviour toward his female employees, was moved to an out-of-state branch office to prevent harassment lawsuits in an egregious act of vaticany by upper-level management.”

  54. #55 fester60613
    March 5, 2010

    How can any catholic who knows anything about the official coverup and the preference abuser over victim — how can one still believe? How can one not question? How can one still obey?
    Sheeple indeed.

  55. #56 NitricAcid
    March 5, 2010

    Oddly, enough, this doesn’t bother me in the least. The male prostitutes, as far as I can tell from the article, were adults, which makes this pale before the child abuse scandals which, frankly, we’ve come to expect from the Catholic Church.
    The accused was an usher. If he’d been a cardinal, or the pope himself, it’d be a story.

  56. #57 NitricAcid
    March 5, 2010

    Brownian- perhaps you ought to send that over to Dan Savage, a fellow with a few more readers than even PZ. He got “santorum” in the dictionary, he can probably get “vaticancy” in there, too.

  57. #58 Brownian, OM
    March 5, 2010

    That’s a great idea, NitricAcid. On it.

  58. #59 QuarkyGideon
    March 5, 2010

    Ooh it’s the Hall of Hypoctire Homosexuals!

  59. #60 IanM
    March 5, 2010

    “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy”.
    Neatly encapsulates the depravity of America’s political and moneyed elite as represented by the Republicans, the Blue Dog Dems, the pundits at Fox News and right wing talk radio.

  60. #61 stand.myopenid.com
    March 5, 2010

    I laughed out loud when I saw the photo of a leering Pope standing in front of a line of Cardinals that accompanies that article. Nicely played, Guardian!

  61. #62 timrowledge
    March 5, 2010

    There is a gay prostitution scandal in the Vatican right now

    Well, bugger me.

    Err, wait, no….

  62. #63 Steve L
    March 5, 2010

    Hmm, in the article it says that Balducci’s name would not appear in the Vatican’s directory: “He obviously can’t come back here after being accused of these things”. Usually it seems these guys are willing to forgive the guilty among them, but now they’re totally unwelcoming to the accused. What gives?
    Oh, it must be because Balducci is involved in consensual sex rather than rape.

  63. #64 Moggie
    March 5, 2010

    #56:

    The accused was an usher. If he’d been a cardinal, or the pope himself, it’d be a story.

    When you have someone in the Vatican procuring prostitutes for a “Gentlemen of His Holiness”, you have to wonder who else he was pimping to. And the Guardian report mentions the following from a phone transcript:

    He asks where Balducci is. The adviser says: “Up at the seminary ? where the cardinal lives.” Ehiem replies: “He could get there within half an hour ? the time it takes to catch a taxi and get there.”

    Balducci asks for Ehiem to send a prostitute to “where the cardinal lives”. Hmm, I wonder whether the cardinal was there at the time, and/or was aware of the arrangement?

  64. #65 Moggie
    March 5, 2010

    #63:

    Hmm, in the article it says that Balducci’s name would not appear in the Vatican’s directory: “He obviously can’t come back here after being accused of these things”. Usually it seems these guys are willing to forgive the guilty among them, but now they’re totally unwelcoming to the accused. What gives?
    Oh, it must be because Balducci is involved in consensual sex rather than rape.

    Consensual sex between adults, no less. How icky. Meanwhile, Cardinal Law is presumably still in good standing in the Vatican.

  65. #66 Tim D.
    March 5, 2010

    I wonder if they used condoms.

  66. #67 Maslab
    March 5, 2010
  67. #68 Cuttlefish, OM
    March 5, 2010

    http://digitalcuttlefish.blogspot.com/2010/03/i-just-love-good-vatican-scandal.html

    The Vatican is rocked by scandal!
    No more singing Bach or Handel;
    Finding men to suit demand?ll
    Get you in the end!
    Caught on wire as he confesses
    Finding dates for men in dresses;
    Hold the tape and stop the presses,
    Better to attend!

    What?s the problem? Prostitution;
    Finding, matching, distribution,
    Knowing later absolution
    Wipes you free of sin!
    A chorister who likes duet work
    Organized a proper network
    Told the gigolos they?d get work;
    ?When can you begin??

    With ornate bedposts, leafed with gold, and sheets of finest satin
    Your tips are better, we are told, if you can moan in Latin.

    He?s lost the high ground in these quarrels
    No more resting on his laurels;
    If the Pope should speak of morals,
    We can roll our eyes.
    Throughout time, since Eden?s apple,
    Till the current papal grapple,
    Seems the urge to fuck a chap?ll
    Always get a rise!

  68. #69 'Tis Himself, OM
    March 5, 2010

    As usual, Cuttlefish has summarized the situation beautifully.

  69. #70 vanharris
    March 5, 2010

    Regarding the gay prostitution scandal in the Vatican – Jumpin’ Jeezus, the Catholics are still selling indulgences, eh.

  70. #71 AJ
    March 5, 2010

    When you repainted, did you paint directly on the old wallpapers or did you tear them down before? In the same situation here…

  71. #72 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 5, 2010

    take down the paper.

  72. #73 davem
    March 5, 2010

    Your tips are better, we are told, if you can moan in Latin.

    One Internet for Cuttlefish!

  73. #74 https://me.yahoo.com/a/r7kAmRt814xGiYGiGP.4Dge.PCMaPdaz#eefdb
    March 5, 2010

    “Papal Fellatio Conga Line”

    And one Internet for Stephen Wells, I think. Man, that was funny.

  74. #75 Xenithrys
    March 5, 2010

    Stephen Wells @ 33:

    Incidental note: biblically, the crime of Sodom is, according to Ezekiel 16.49, this: “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy”.

    (Most, i.e. all but 7000) New Zealanders will recognise that:

    http://www.voxy.co.nz/national/god-doesnt-want-me-be-poor-yeah-right-brian-tamaki/1273/40774

  75. #76 https://me.yahoo.com/hairychris444#96384
    March 5, 2010

    Er…

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Sorry.

  76. #77 Ye Olde Blacksmith
    March 5, 2010

    Steve L. #63

    I was thinking the along the same line.

    I suspect that getting caught on a wire tap is what put them over the top. It is obviously not crime that the “Church” has a problem with, it is getting caught. Frankly, I’m not a bit surprised.

  77. #78 jcmartz.myopenid.com
    March 5, 2010
  78. #79 and7barton
    March 5, 2010

    Quote –

    “Beside, we do not reside in Sodom.”

    Ah, but maybe Sodom resides in you ?

    Sorry about that……. I couldn’t resist that michievous comment. I agree with you actually.

  79. #80 Stardrake
    March 5, 2010

    My dear, naughty wife just summed it up:

    “Adeste Fidelis”.

  80. #81 malcanoid
    March 6, 2010

    Is it only the gay prostitution rings that are the scandal? What about the heterosexual ones. Is no one looking for those because they rate as normal and therefore not news?

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