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It includes the claim that about 80 percent of the male Roman Catholic clergy members who work at the Vatican, around the pope, are gay. It contends that the more showily homophobic a Vatican official is, the more likely he belongs to that crowd, and that the higher up the chain of command you go, the more gays you find. And not all of them are celibate.
Some of the most senior clerics in the Roman Catholic church who have vociferously attacked homosexuality are themselves gay, according to a book to be published next week. Eighty per cent of priests working at the Vatican are gay, although not necessarily sexually active, it is claimed in the book, In the Closet of the Vatican. It is being published in eight languages across 20 countries next Wednesday, coinciding with the opening day of a conference at the Vatican on sexual abuse, to which bishops from all over the world have been summoned.
The crisis over sexuality in the Catholic Church goes beyond abuse. It goes to the heart of the priesthood, into a closet that is trapping thousands of men. Credit Credit. By Elizabeth Dias.
But even among celibate priests, the threat of being outed is real — and can result in being defrocked and excommunicated. The responses were as troubling as you might expect. Fewer than about 10 priests in the United States have dared to come out publicly.
The canon law of the Catholic Church requires that clerics "observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven". Inthe Church clarified that men with "deeply rooted homosexual tendencies" cannot be ordained. Nevertheless, a senior Vatican official confirmed a report in Corriere della Sera that gay men who are closeted and chaste abstain from sexual activity for at least three years will still be allowed to become priests,  and others have argued that the church would be unable to enforce an outright ban even if it tried.
We have no reliable figures on just how many priests in the Catholic Church are gay. The Vatican has conducted many studies on its own clergy but never on this subject. The consensus in my own research over the past few months converged on around 30 to 40 percent among parish priests and considerably more than that — as many as 60 percent or higher — among religious orders like the Franciscans or the Jesuits.
While he has previously spoken of the need for better screening of candidates for the religious life, his comments suggesting that priests who cannot keep their vows of celibacy should leave are some of his clearest to date. It is due to be published this week in several languages. An advance copy of the Italian version was made available to Reuters.
Lisa McClain does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under Creative Commons licence. Pope Francis has spoken openly about homosexuality.
This comical equation exemplifies how often people working in newsrooms just get math wrong in their stories. From polls and surveys to trying to quantify something by way of statistics, most reporters and editors find themselves befuddled — even fooled — by numbers. Overall, that remains a small number. At least, I have found that to be the case anecdotally given my circle of former colleagues who work as general assignment reporters and news editors at mainstream news outlets.