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Sex Parties, Drugs and Gay Escorts at the Pope's Residence: Undercover in the Vatican



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PARIS – “We’ll have enough time for the interview,” the writer and journalist Frédéric Martel assures me. “Let’s go to a movie.” Friday evening. I’d arrived here two hours earlier in order to interview Martel about his new book, “In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy” (Bloomsbury, translated by Shaun Whiteside). The whole world is talking about it. For my part, I am flattered that a star author in Europe, and in the West in general, is devoting quality time to me amid the chaos he’s caught up in. His phone doesn’t stop ringing. Indeed, Martel had just returned to Paris from a two-day promotional tour in Spain and has been invited to appear on just about every possible television program.
Martel’s book was published simultaneously in a number of languages and is set to appear in dozens more. Four days after its February 20 release it already topped the best-seller lists in France, Portugal, Quebec, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Holland and England. The Times of London has just published a long, complimentary review by a professor of religious studies from Oxford.
Despite the time pressure, Martel, 51, insists that as background for my interview it’s important that we see Francois Ozon’s new film, “By the Grace of God.” It tells the true story of a group of men from the city of Lyon, where a pleasant-looking priest who led their Catholic youth movement abused them when they were young and left them scarred for life, physically and mentally. An entire generation of boys endured that abuse, with the knowledge of the parents and of the cardinal of Lyon. Finally, a few of them mustered the courage to expose the priest and the duplicitous cardinal who covered up for him in the diocese.
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