Church denounces gay priests after magazine revelations

Cover of Panorama magazine, 23 July
Image caption Panorama said it recorded sexual encounters, including in a church building

An Italian Catholic diocese has denounced homosexual priests for their "double life" and said they should not be in the priesthood.

The Diocese of Rome was responding to a magazine article on three homosexual priests that gave details of alleged sexual encounters and trips to clubs.

The diocese said "the honour of all the others" was sullied by their behaviour.

The Church holds that all sexual activity outside marriage is sinful and regards homosexual acts as unnatural.

'Saddened and troubled'

The article in the conservative magazine Panorama, entitled Gay Priests' Nights on the Town, carried pictures and interviews with the men.

The research was carried out over a month using hidden cameras.

It recorded sexual encounters, including one in a church building.

The diocese said of the priests: "We don't wish any ill-will against them, but we cannot accept that because of their behaviour the honour of all the others is sullied."

It said it was "saddened and troubled" by the article and vowed to pursue "with rigour any behaviour that is unworthy of the priestly life".

Pope Benedict XVI instructed in 2005 that actively gay priests should be barred from seminaries.

The Pope has said gay marriage is an "insidious and dangerous threat to the common good".

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