It is regarded as the most controversial book about the heart of the Catholic Church, namely the Vatican. I am discussing about In the Closet of the Vatican, the book written by French journalist Frederic Martel and this is my review about this controversial essay. First of all, you must know that the disclosure of the work has been authorized by Pope Francis. This is, at least, the first shocking revelation made by the author in the pages of his literary text. As a matter of fact, In the Closet of the Vatican is a collection of the interviews made by the journalist during a long tour between Italy and the South of America.
These interviews represent an excellent journalistic inquiry about the untold and unmentionable secrets of the Vatican Church. Yes, because the Vatican is a church, the Catholic Church. However, according to the book, the Vatican is a world aside, with its lies, secrets and dirty deals, as suggested by the complete title, namely, In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy.
The work is shocking and shaking, in my view, because reveals the impressive and the unthinkable degree of corruption of the Catholic clergy! Just think that when the author put her feet on the floor of the Vatican, the Saint Peter’s confessor greeted him with the following words: Welcome to Sodom. Nevertheless, for me, it was fairly shocking reading these early words because I immediately understood that In the Closet of the Vatican was a hot book, not a story for kids.
The author reported 1500 interviews with 52 bishops and monsignors, 45 apostolic nuncios, 41 cardinals, 11 Swiss Guards and with more than 200 Catholic priests and seminarians. Many of the priests interviewed, have in common a particular sin: to practice homosexuality. Because, according to the Catholic doctrine, Homosexuality is not a sin, but practicing homosexuality is a severe sin. While, according the book, the most of the priests are homosexual. Many of them have liaisons or relationships with other priests, others prefer male prostitutes, they also search for homosexual partners on night clubs or on the Internet to try more and more perverse forms of sex.
We have also to tell, that the author faces other thorny matters in the book, such as sexual abuse and the disgusting silence of the Vatican on this same matter. Very often, the abuse were made by priests against boys, rarely girls, and this data pushed Pope Ratzinger to say the highly criticized statement that paedophilia is caused by homosexuality. Indeed, always according to the one reported by the author, in over 80 per cent of cases, these affairs concern homosexuals abuse. 5,948 priests in the United States, 1880 in Australia, 1670 in Germany, 800 in The Netherland, 500 in Belgium and in other countries have been denounced these years for a series of scandals where cardinals and bishops were involved.
I took the above mentioned information from the book and I have to admit that when I learnt about the other scandals occurred in the Catholic Church, I remained not only shocked, but desperate. I cried and feel the desire to pray for the tons of victims sexually assaulted by priests. I couldn’t help but wondering; is this the Catholic Church? I think it is not! I can’t justify this horrible sin against helpless victims!
In the several chapters of the book, the author explains the most secretive reasons of the high rate of homosexuality in the Vatican, where the closet is the hidden side of the priests, but also a sort of lobby, where its members are only gay priests! The closet is a paralleled parish inside the Vatican, where everybody is a unique corporation and where is a unique rule: silence to practice homosexuality away from prying eyes. So much that it is said that there is the culture of secrecy in force in the Vatican. In the closet, power and corruption are closely intertwined with sexual instinct. An instinct made much more severe by the celibacy of Catholic clergymen and their strong hypocrisy.
I read the English edition of the book and remained struck by the sharp quotes that surround the inquiry of this skilled French journalist, such as the one about the Jesuits, the same congregation of Pope Francis: Telling half lies is the same as telling half truths! Or: We are all sinners, but we are not all corrupt. Sinners must be accepted, not the corrupt!
But, the Truth, the true one, where is it? Here is the question I faced while I was reading the book. Through In the Closet of the Vatican, I witnessed the big collapse of the Catholic Church, already anticipated by the resignation of Pope Ratzinger. Rather, through the book, I also discovered the truth about this unusual resignation. The work is punchy, comprehensive and detailed. Names and surnames, Life, death and sins of eminent cardinals and nuncios have been told without shame in the hope to wipe away the dirt in the Vatican Church.
In the Closet of the Vatican, whose the original title is Sodoma, in the French edition, was released in February 2019. At the time, the book was still unfinished. The latest shocking chapter is available for free for those who buy the Kindle book I just reviewed. There, readers will find a link for the free download of the PDF file of the unpublished chapter of In the Closet of the Vatican.
Title: In the Closet of the Vatican
Author: Frederic Martel
Publisher: Bloomsbury Continuum
Available on Amazon