You don’t often see headlines such as this one.
There have been plenty of new stories about the Italian monsignor serving in the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy
Both his face and voice were disguised by the show’s producers, but watching Vatican officials recognised the room where the interview took place as the monsignor’s office.
During questioning, the priest said that he “did not feel it was wrong” to have sex with gay men.
John Allen Jr. has much better coverage of this with information not presented in other stories.
A monsignor in the Vatican�s Congregation for Clergy has been suspended after being caught on hidden camera in a recent Italian TV broadcast about gays in the priesthood, in which he and other priests made contact with a young man posing as a potential �date� in gay-oriented web sites and chat rooms, and then arranged for meetings the priests apparently believed would lead to sexual encounters.
In the wake of the disclosures, the Vatican official in question, Italian Monsignor Tommaso Stenico, 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.
… Yesterday, however, a statement from Stenico appeared on the Italian Catholic web site �Petrus,� where his commentaries appear regularly. 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.
�I discovered that there is,� Stenico wrote. �There�s a diabolical plan by groups of Satanists that single out priests.�
Stenico said that his aim in pretending to be gay was to understand this world, not to participate in it. Stenico also asserted that being caught on a hidden camera could be a form of retribution for having earlier complained to police about a young man who offered him sexual favors in exchange for his help in obtaining a job.
�I�ve lived my life as a priest persecuted by much calumny, envy and jealousy,� Stenico wrote.
Before his recent difficulties, Stenico appeared regularly on the Italian Catholic TV network Telepace and on Radio Maria, where he had a monthly program on �Evangelization, Catechesis and Catechists.�
In the �Exit� broadcast, Stenico meets the young man posing as his �date� in St. Peter�s Square, and the two get into the priest�s car and enter the Vatican through a parking garage. They enter a Vatican office, where Stenico talks at some length about the church and homosexuality, defending, for example, the church�s position that marriage should be restricted to a man and a woman, while conceding the possibility of other legal arrangements for same-sex couples. They also briefly discuss sado-masochism, with Stenico referring to it as �a choice within the psychological depths of a personality.�
At one point, the priest says to the young man �I�m waiting for you � come here,� and at another tells him �you�re very cute, you�re completely cute.� The young man then says, �You�re about to commit a sin with me before the eyes of God,� to which the priest responds, �No, I don�t feel that it�s a sin.� When the young man does not respond, the priest later identified as Stenico says it�s clear that the young man is feeling �conflicted.� The priest says he will put him on the elevator to leave, advising him not to say anything if someone approaches him.