Sodom: the Official Guide
Although there’s nothing in it about Roman weather or the various sites you might like to visit on a trip to the Vatican, French journalist Frédéric Martel’s In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy is a curious sort of Baedeker to the ins and outs of the Vatican City State. To read it is a little like stepping through the door of Professor Lewis’s wardrobe, except it’s not Narnia you enter but Sodom.
Mr. Martel’s book purports to be an objective exposé that is the result of “1500 interviews in the Vatican and in 30 countries” over four years, during which Martel and his team of 80 “researchers, correspondents, advisers, fixers and translators” spoke to “421 cardinals, 52 bishops and monsignori, 45 apostolic nuncios and foreign ambassadors.” All were in-person interviews. (A note of skepticism: there are currently just 222 living cardinals, so unless Martel was doing séances . . .)
Nearly all those interviewed are members of what, according to Martel, they themselves call “the Parish,” which is what Pope Francis, in that famous (“who am I to judge?”) interview on the flight from Rio to Rome, denied even existed: a “gay lobby.” According to Martel’s accounting, it’s not just a lobby, it’s a small city.