Gay orgies and 'murder' scandals engulf Vatican

Separate incidents in Italy are latest for the Roman Catholic Church

The Vatican has been embroiled in two separate, highly embarrassing, scandals.

In one, a north Italian priest has been removed from office after allegations emerged that he had been surfing the internet to find gay lovers and had been involved in gay orgies.

The other, which has generated – if possible – even more lurid press coverage in Italy, alleges a priest in the south of the country is under investigation on suspicion of murdering one of his parishioners.

Father Gratien Alabi, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, is under investigation for murder following the discovery of female bones under the flagstones of an ancient mountain chapel.

The bones are anticipated to belong to Guerrina Piscaglia, 50, who disappeared from nearby Arezzo in Tuscany last year, The Times reported.

The case has generated intense media interest, with some papers claiming that Father Alabi had engaged in an affair with the woman, a parishioner of his and another priest’s church, and fathered a child with her.

Father Alabi has denied all claims, protesting his innocence.

Meanwhile, to the north of the country, the local Curia is scrambling to address the allegations made by a 32-year-old man from Rovigo, midway between Bologna and Venice.

The unidentified man apparently approached the media after church authorities failed to take action following his official complaint to the Ecclesiastical Court of the Puglia region against the unidentified 50-year-old priest.

The younger man claimed he met the priest through Facebook, forming a close friendship with the clerical figure who then confessed his homosexuality to his online correspondent.

In his complaint, according to Italian newspaper Corriere del Mezzogiorno, the man included a record of his conversations with the priest.

In these online interactions, the priest admitted to sexual relationships with other religious figures – as well as members of the Vatican’s elite Swiss Guard – using the internet to find new partners and engage in sexual encounters online. 

Following the involvement of Archbishop of Taranto Filippo Santoro, the individual involved was immediately removed from office, once the “reliability of the facts” had been established.

He added that the allegations included behaviour that was “absolutely incompatible with the priestly ministry”.

“Needless to say, the feelings of the archbishop and the Curia are those of the regret and dismay,” a Vatican spokesperson told the Italian newspaper.

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