The giggly James Martin-wing of the Church is swooning over the new book In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy by Frederic Martel.
Weepy articles are everywhere about it, pitying the poor priests who aren’t allowed to licitly bugger each other and parishioners. Denying them this activity denies who they are! So much is expected from our press.
But there’s something odd about that book, first noticed by Fr John Rickert, who notified me by email.
Here’s the same book in Spanish: SODOMA: Poder y Escandalo en el Vaticano, which is, of course, scarcely like the English.
Here’s the French: Sodoma: Enquête Au Coeur Du Vatican.
And here, in plain simplicity, is Italian: Sodoma.
Quite a difference, no?
Wait. Don’t answer yet, because there’s more.
The book description differences are even more fascinating. Here is the first part of the English (prove to yourself that I’m not selectively quoting by doing the comparisons yourself).
A startling account of corruption and hypocrisy at the heart of the Vatican.
In the Closet of the Vatican exposes the rot at the heart of the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church today. This brilliant piece of investigative writing is based on four years’ authoritative research, including extensive interviews with those in power.
The celibacy of priests, the condemnation of the use of contraceptives, countless cases of sexual abuse, the resignation of Benedict XVI, misogyny among the clergy, the dramatic fall in Europe of the number of vocations to the priesthood, the plotting against Pope Francis – all these issues are clouded in mystery and secrecy.
In the Closet of the Vatican is a book that reveals these secrets and penetrates this enigma. It derives from a system founded on a clerical culture of secrecy which starts in junior seminaries and continues right up to the Vatican itself. It is based on the double lives of priests and on extreme homophobia. The resulting schizophrenia in the Church is hard to fathom. But the more a prelate is homophobic, the more likely it is that he is himself gay.
The more the prelate is against murder, the more likely he’s a murderer!
That’s one of the most frequent, idiotic, sloppy, and just plain dumb arguments we hear. If you’re against it, you’re secretly for it. And if you’re for it, you’re for it. So everybody’s for it; thus, let’s drop the pretence and hand out free laxatives for all.
Let’s compare the English with the Italian (translated: I’ll leave you to do with the similar French and Spanish as homework).
The misogyny of the clergy, the end of priestly vocations, the culture of silence in cases of sexual abuse, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the war against Pope Francis: the same secret links all these dark areas of the Church. This secret has long been unspeakable, but today it finally has a name: Sodom. The biblical city of Sodom would have been destroyed by God because of the homosexuality of its inhabitants. Yet, the Vatican is home to one of the largest homosexual communities in the world. A huge network of relationships created around the intimate life of priests, capable of exploiting their deepest fragility and influencing the exercise of the power of the Church, not only in the corridors of the Roman curia.
In other words, the problem is the (what is called) Lavender Mafia, whose members would not have been thought out of place by the denizens of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Now there are also similarities in the editions. The Italian also has the line “the more a prelate is shown homophobic [omofobo] in public, the more likely he is homosexual in private.” French: “plus un prélat est homophobe en public, plus il est probable qu’il soit homosexuel en privé.” Just what omofobo is or means is always left in the minds of readers. To American readers it’s any hint of disapproval of sodomy. In Italy and France, I don’t know.
The American edition ends with this:
“Behind rigidity there is always something hidden, in many cases a double life.” These are the words of Pope Francis himself and with them, the Pope has unlocked the Closet.
No one can claim to really understand the Catholic Church today until they have read this book. It reveals a truth that is extraordinary and disturbing.
The Pope has “unlocked the Closet”? Perhaps he has. Since his elevation, plenty of skeletons, ugly, twisted, and in various stages of decomposition, have come tumbling out of the Church.
The Italian finishes with this:
The gay issue of course does not explain everything, but it is a crucial key to understanding the Vatican and its position in our society. If we ignore this dimension related to homosexuality, we deprive ourselves of an essential element to decipher a large part of the events that have marked the history and politics of the last decades. “Behind stiffness there is always something hidden, in many cases a double life.” In saying these words, Pope Francis gave us a secret that this disconcerting investigation reveals for the first time.
Quite a difference, no?
I have not read the book itself, but I wonder if these same shadings appear in the English translation.