By Nick Pisa
Last updated at 3:16 PM on 24th July 2010
A gay priest sex scandal has rocked the Catholic Church in Italy today after a weekly news magazine released details of a shock investigation it had carried out.
Using hidden cameras, a journalist from Panorama magazine – owned by Italian Prime Minister and media baron Silvio Berlusconi – filmed three priests as they attended gay nightspots and had casual sex.
Today there was no immediate comment from the Italian Bishops Conference and the Vatican – which has been rocked by a series of sex scandals involving paedophile priests since the start of the year.
A preview of the Panorama article sent out by email last night added that video footage from the investigation would be made available.
The article describes how the reporter was assisted by a gay ‘accomplice’ as they ‘gate-crashed the wild nights of a number of priests in Rome who live a surprising double-life.’
In it’s preview, Panorama added: ‘By day they are regular priests, complete with dog collar, but, at night it’s off with the cassock as they take their place as perfectly integrated members of the Italian capital’s gay scene.’
Panorama described its investigation as ‘deeply disturbing’ as it detailed how three priests – two Italians and a Frenchman – happily took part in gay events and had casual sex.
The Catholic Church forbids priests to have sex and homosexuality is also seen as a ‘sin’ .
In 2008 the Vatican issued guidelines which said that any would be trainees should not join if they had ‘deep-seated homosexual tendencies’.
In one part of the investigation Panorama said that one priest, named as Carlo, willingly put on his cassock to have sex with the reporter’s gay accomplice, adding ‘all of which was filmed by the hidden camera’.
The magazine also described how they had attended a Mass which was celebrated by Carlo.
In its preview Panorama insisted that it had carried out through checks and established that all three priests were bona fide but would not reveal their real names or any other details.
Panorama editor Giorgio Mule said: ‘This was a two week investigation and was not aimed at creating a scandal but showing that a certain section of the clergy behaves very differently.’
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