The Vatican: World’s Largest Bathhouse for Holy Sex Tourists

by Steve Weinstein
Saturday Feb 23, 2013

True story: I have a friend who was working as the on-site press agent for a documentary about the Vatican Library (the largest and most valuable such repository in the world; eat your heart out, Queen Elizabeth!).

The pope, John Paul II, would make a brief appearance in the film. As the crew were setting up, a monsignor minced up to my friend and asked, "Do you want him in his party dress or his day drag?"

Anyone who spent any time at all in the curia can tell stories about the gay mafia that has been running the Vatican since anyone can remember. The recent unattributed news report in an Italian newspaper that a scandal involving a "gay lobby" having undue influence inside St. Peter's is shocking only that anyone can still be surprised by this news.

The Catholic Church by its very nature has always been a hotbed of man-man lust. One of my college classmates, confused about his sexual identity (among other things) decided to take vows and retired to an abbey in the Arkansas Ozarks. He said it was like a bathhouse, with each monk perched in his cell like the habitues of an urban sauna as they waited for the trade that roamed the halls. Well, at least his stay helped him figure out his problem!

Thus it was ever so. A year or so ago, I saw a play about the last castrato, a boy-man who sang in the Vatican choir. (He was recent enough so that Edison recorded his voice.) The plot involved all the machinations of the choir director, a cardinal from Venice (where else?) who picked and chose his nightly favorite play toys. All the boys not only accepted it, they fought to see who would be the chosen one.

All of this would just be juicy gossip were it not for that very evil game that the hierarchy plays. Knowing full well that a multinational corporation whose entire executive infrastructure are unmarried men, the bishops, archbishops and cardinals point to the "infiltration" of gay priests after Vatican II loosened church morals (in their eyes).

Of course, this doesn't explain the widespread sexual abuse that went on well before Vatican II, such as the vicious monks in a pre-War orphanage in rural Quebec: "The orphans endured sexual abuse at the hands of the psychiatrists, Roman Catholic priests, nuns, and administrators," per Wikipedia.

Ireland, where priests hold (or held) great sway, was at one time a floating pedophiliac paradise. Again, per Wiki: "In Ireland, a report (see Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse) was made covering six decades (from the 1950s) noting "endemic" sexual abuse in Catholic boys' institutions with church leaders aware of what was going on and government inspectors failing to "stop beatings, rapes and humiliation." Note, "from the 1950s."

In fact, the entire structure of the church has been built to protect abusers from civil authorities. Wealthy from the nonpayment of taxes and, in many nations still, state support, the church has constructed its own networks of psychiatric institutions, halfway houses, retirement centers and other getaways for its renegade priests.

Read the New York Times summary about the charismatic (charisma and unbounded sexual desire often go hand in hand; Jim Jones and Atlanta mega-preacher and boy-pounder Eddie Long are only two quick examples) Msr. Kevin William. Described in the article as "a towering figure in the Roman Catholic Church in southwestern Connecticut," Williams had set his cap toward a bishop's miter and probably would have kissed the ring were it not that his crystal meth addiction had spun so out of control that he bought one of those roadside sex shops to launder the hundreds of thousands of dollars he was raking in in drug money.

Long before he was finally busted, the rectory staff saw a troupe of men pouring in and out of Williams' quarters. They also had a pretty good idea that Williams was a serious cross-dresser (they could probably tell because his drag wasn't nearly as chic as his vestments) who hosted wild sex parties.

True to form, the priest bounced from priestly rehab facility to priestly halfway house. What really stood out for me, however, wasn't all that meth-infused wild sex; that comes with the territory. It was this: Williams and the bishop of Bridgeport, a desperately poor see, "were close and went to Broadway shows, opera and dinners together. Monsignor Wallin framed the playbills from the many shows he saw. His parish e-mail address became broadwayguy73."

You want to creep upstairs and play hide the sausage with the prepubescent children of parishioners, as the notorious Boston priest William Sheehan did so successfully for so many years, all the while being shuffled between unsuspecting parishes, where he found whole new crops of young male flesh for his pleasure, eventually opening (what else?) a clothing-optional gay guesthouse complex in Palm Springs with the money he made while humbly serving the Lord? Go ahead, it's practically expected of you.

I draw the line at coming in from the suburbs night after night, treating yourself and your bud to a fine restaurant and orchestra seats at Broadway shows and the Met Opera. I don't have anything against a priest being a flaming show queen (I know, I know; redundant). It's good to have an occasional diversion from all that tiny tot diddling. And some field work to keep your act tight and brush up on your sonorous elocution is an integral part of the job.

But for us mere amateur sinners, who have to pay full price for a ticket, or wait with all of those out-of-towners in the Broadway discount ticketing booth at Father Duffy Square (it just had to be named after a Catholic priest) so we get the dregs ("Oh, 'Naked Boys Singing' has a new cast!" "I hear 'Chaplin' isn't nearly as bad as they say it is"), while the priest and bishop sink into the uplift of "Wicked" or the naughty-but-ultimately-uplifting gross-out humor of "The Book of Mormon."

When these queens in their cassoks start muscling in on my territory, they're going to find out that every judo-hat-throwing psycho-bitch Swiss Guard won't be enough to keep me from confronting that hypocritical bleeder of the poor, using the poor box as his private theater concierge service.

Just let me get near the guy. I'll throw water on the witch, watch her melt and take the broom back to Rome. ... Oh, wait. I know this guy. He, un, well, we "met cute" you know. Manhunt, I think it was. Adam maybe. Grindr. Recon.

... Oh well, these priests need their R&R just like the rest of us. Our reward, as we are told so often by the holy men, will be in heaven after we die. Still, can't I just get a teeny-weeny sample of the afterlife by seeing Tom Hanks in "Lucky Guy."

Steve Weinstein has been a regular correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, the Advocate, the Village Voice and Out. He has been covering the AIDS crisis since the early '80s, when he began his career. He is the author of "The Q Guide to Fire Island" (Alyson, 2007).


  • Jay, 2013-02-23 19:08:03

    You’re never one to mince words, Steve, good job. I believe Dante envisioned a special place in hell for false prophets...

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