*In the Closet of the Vatican*

That is the highly controversial book by Frederick Martel, subtitled Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy.  For some time I had been resisting reading the book, as usually I find tales of corruption and scandal boring.  But I misunderstood the fundamental nature of the account.  It is not quite a homage, but Martel seems to admire the evolved culture of homosexuality (not my preferred word, but appropriate in this context) in the Vatican.  See this review: “The tone falters because Martel seems unsure whether to be horrified by the church’s corruption or to let out a gasp of high-camp amazement at its excesses.”

If anything, the study reminds me of Diego Gambetta’s work on the Mafia, at least in terms of some of its methods.

Have you ever thought “there should be more books about how things actually work!?” — well, this is one of them.  Here is one excerpt:

‘Being of the parish’ could even be this book’s subtitle.  The expression is an old one in both French and Italian: I have found it in the homosexual slang of the 1950s and 1960s.  It may pre-date those years, so similar it is to a phrase in Marcel Proust’s Sodom and Gomorrah and Jean Genet’s Notre Dame des Fleurs — even though I don’t think it appears in either of those books.  Was it more of a vernacular phrase, from the gay bars of the 1920s and 30s?  Not impossible.  In any case, it heroically combines the ecclesiastical universe with the homosexual world.

‘You know I like you,’ La Paiva announces suddenly.  ‘But I’m cross with you for not telling me if you prefer men or women.  Why won’t you tell me?  Are you at least a sympathizer?’

I’m fascinated by La Paiva’s indiscretion.

And another bit:

It took me several months of careful observation and meetings to understand the subtle nocturnal geography of the boys of Roma Termini.  Each group of prostitutes has its patch, its marked territory.  It’s a division that reflects racial hierarchies and a wide range of prices.  So the Africans are usually sitting on the guardrail by the south-western entrance to the station; the Maghrebis, sometimes the Egyptians, tend to stay around Via Giovanni Giolitti, at the crossing with the Rue Manin or under the arcades on Piazza dei Cinquecento; the Romanians are close to Piazzadella Repubblica, beside the naked sea-nymphs of the Naiad Fountain or around the Dogali Obelisk; the ‘Latinos’ last of all, cluster more towards the north of the square, on Viale Enrico de Nicola or Via Marsala.  Sometimes there are territorial wars between groups, and fists fly.

You can buy the book here.  I would add this: I do not have much knowledge in this area, but Martel seems to go out of his way to avoid making speculative accusations.  But if you would like to read a negative Catholic review of the book, here it is.


Scandals are more exciting than tax incidence.

The Vatican's decor is pretty gay.

Which came first: the gays or the gay decor?

It's not gay decor. It's just European.

Romanesque or Gothic aren't gay though. Thet could have gone with that or some other style instead of the fabulous Baroque decor.

The visual arts in the Baroque era (but not music) became very gayish. Even men's fashions did, with big blowsey wigs and cosmetics turning even he-man into incipient drag queens.

The first excerpt seems somewhat misleading. The time-honored expression, at least in Italian, is "being from the other parish."

Yet, none dare call it treason.

John was the Disciple whom Jesus loved. That is according to the Gospel of John. Indeed, the recurring theme in the Gospel of John and in the Letters of John (not written by John but attributed to him) is one of love ("love one another"). In art, John is often depicted as effeminate, which is the case in the plate glass window at the end of the pew where I sit Sundays. In the ancient world, the life of a woman has often been described as sex, birth, death, and decay because so many mothers died in child birth. Sex was a death sentence for many women, and life in the monastery (or nunnery) was the alternative many women chose to avoid the fate of the typical woman. One cannot separate views about sex from the consequences of sex.

"even though I don’t think [the phrase] appears in either of those books."

Has Martel never heard of CTRL+F?

I looked at the book when it came out and frankly this was typical of the author's vagueness and laziness and inability to nail down anything solid.

Larry Arnhart had a number of posts about the book back in June. It had already been out since February and I still cannot understand why it hasn't made more of a splash (especially since it was published simultaneously in eight languages).

Perhaps it doesn't fit into modern political sentiment. A "pro-gay" feeling usually corresponds with an "anti-Catholic" feeling. Similarly, "anti-gay" and "pro-Catholic" feelings go together.

Let us be blunt. Romanism did what it could to bury the book (as they used to do to the Bible, who is God's Word).

"Martel seems to go out of his way to avoid making speculative accusations"

Perhaps it does not count as an "accusation" since he doesn't think there's anything wrong with it, but with respect to the specific claim that some individual is gay, he goes out of his all the time to speculate on this. E.g. he essentially says Cardinal Burke is gay by reason of the vestments that he likes.

I know for a fact, from experience, that a person's vestment preferences are not a good foundation for speculating on someone's sexual orientation.

Sounds like those naked sea-nymphs are pretty much wasted on everybody.

"I'm going to start a club. First rule: No sex or marriage. Who wants to join?"

The Vatican, a Chelsea property deal and Brexit. https://www.ft.com/content/7588af98-ee94-11e9-bfa4-b25f11f42901

So according to the organization, that claims to be the ultimate earthly authority on morality, shady real estate dealings are grounds for resignation, but raping kids or aiding child rapists is grounds for a promotion.
How does anyone take this organization seriously ?

On a lighter note.
When Wagner worries, then ... https://books.google.it/books?redir_esc=y&hl=it&id=XJNgDwAAQBAJ&q=wagner+mastubation#v=snippet&q=wagner%20mastubation&f=false

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