Friday, March 5, 2010

Who's on Top in the Vatican's Gay Prostitution Scandal?

     One of my favorite seminary professors was my Human Sexuality professor, Dr. XX.  She was an intelligent and formidable woman, petite but powerful.  Teaching sexuality to group of closeted, repressed, and self-diluting celibate have-to-bes must have been intimidating, but Dr. XX handled the challenge with a great sense of humor.  She doesn't know this, but I kept track of her unintended flubs in the margins of my notes.  One of my favorites: "When it comes to sex, how do you know what's right without someone on top telling you what to do?"

     Well who's on top in the Roman Catholic Church?  Pope Ben, of course.  Did you know that he has "Papal Gentlemen" at his service?  What exactly does one of these so-called "gentlemen" do?

     We, at The Gospel According to Hate, are proud to introduce you to Pope Benedict XVI's Papal Gentleman, Angelo Balducci.  He's sixty-three, well-known and powerful in the Vatican, traditionally married with children, and doesn't like having his balls touched.  He's well-connected to the Vatican's top choirs, and he's part of Vatican gay prostitution ring that seventy-two pages of transcribed wiretaps have just unmasked.  

     Who are the prostitutes?  According to Catholic teaching they are created in the image of god and beautiful in god's eyes.  They are also athletes, Cubans, Germans, blacks, dancers, undocumented immigrants, and/or seminarians.  And to think, all that time I was in seminary, I could have been getting paid to be sexually exploited

    Police wiretaps are expected to result in charges against Angelo Balducci, 63, a Papal Gentleman, as lay attendant are called, and the former chairman of the Holy See's Public Works Department, which is itself caught up in a corruption investigation.
     According to police, Balducci regularly contacted Chinedu Ehiem Thomas, a Nigerian man who sings in St. Peter's Cappella Giulia, to engage the sexual services of young male members of the choir, along with seminarians and undocumented immigrants seeking residency status.
    The Cappella Giulia is the official choir of the St. Peter's Basilica and performs at many solemn Vatican functions not involving the pope, who is accompanied by the Sistine Chapel choir.
     Ehiem, 40, who goes by the nickname Mike, and his assistant Lorenzo Renzi, 33, allegedly arranged for prostitutes for Balducci several times a week. The two men are said to have operated a network of aspiring young priests, choir members and sometimes recruited foreigners seeking to secure their immigration status.
     The scandal now envelops Balducci, a well-known and powerful local figure who is married with two children, who despite all this is said to have taken remarkable risks in setting up sexual liaisons even in Chigi Palace, home of the Italian prime minister, or immediately after a private audience with a cardinal.
     In 72 pages of transcribed wiretaps, Ehiem tells Balducci about one possible candidate: "Angelo ... I'll say no more. Two meters (6-foot-7), 97 kilos (250 lbs.), 33 years-old and completely active (top)."
     In later calls, Ehiem offered fewer details: "I have a situation in Naples."
     "I have a Cuban situation."
     "I have a German who just arrived from Germany."
     "I have two black guys."
     "I have the soccer player."
     "I have the dancer from RAI," the Italian TV network.
     Some of the young men were seminarians or attended ecclesiastical colleges in Rome. On one occasion, Balducci is heard saying, "He, when does he have to return to the seminary?"
     In one wiretap from last December, Renzi is heard explaining the rules of engagement: "You'll get up to 2,000 euros ... Do not touch his balls. You need the money. Put on some music, take out the [inaudible], swallow the Viagra, and adelante!"
     The Nigerian singer was dismissed Wednesday from the Cappella Giulia choir by Cardinal Angelo Comastri. Vatican sources denied the involvement of either priests or seminarians in the scandal.
     Balducci's religious fervor and persistence in the shadow of power have proven crucial aspects of the "gelatinous system" denounced by the judge investigating the awarding of lucrative public works contracts.
     Of course, the Vatican denies the involvement of priests and seminarians in the scandal.  Self-denial is a church-sanctioned Lenten practice

     Best wishes to Pope Ben and Balducci on their future corporal works of mercy.