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.