VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican has suspended a senior priest in the Holy See who acknowledged homosexual relations in a supposedly anonymous television interview, but was identified by superiors from background shots of his office.
In a major embarrassment for the Roman Catholic Church's hierarchy, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said on Saturday the monsignor, whose name was not released, was suspended from duty pending an internal investigation.
Local media identified him as a senior figure in a Vatican department which oversees matters relating to priesthood and said he also made regular appearances on Vatican television.
Commentary by John Allen at NCRCafe lists the Vatican official in question as Italian Monsignor Tommaso Stenico, who "claims that he was only pretending to be gay in order to uncover what he described as plots to damage the church by targeting vulnerable priests with homosexual tendencies."
Stenico, who holds a degree in psychology in addition to his theological training, said that after discussions with his spiritual director, he decided to become a “thief among thieves” to determine if there was an effort to damage the church through the weaknesses of gay priests.The NCRCafe article is here.
“I discovered that there is,” Stenico wrote. “There’s a diabolical plan by groups of Satanists that single out priests.”
An on-line version of the “Exit” segment can be found here: http://www.la7.it/blog/post_dettaglio.asp?idblog=15&ID=1065