A fresh embarrassment in Rome:
The Vatican was today rocked by a sex scandal reaching into Pope Benedict’s household after a chorister was sacked for allegedly procuring male prostitutes for a papal gentleman-in-waiting.
Angelo Balducci, a Gentleman of His Holiness, was caught by police on a wiretap allegedly negotiating with Thomas Chinedu Ehiem, a 29-year-old Vatican chorister, over the specific physical details of men he wanted brought to him. Transcripts in the possession of the Guardian suggest that numerous men may have been procured for Balducci, at least one of whom was studying for the priesthood….
Balducci is… a senior adviser to the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, the department that oversees the Roman Catholic church’s worldwide missionary activities.
Since 1995, he has been a member of one of the world’s most exclusive fraternities — the Gentlemen of His Holiness, or Papal Gentlemen, the ceremonial ushers of the papal household. In the words of a 1968 ordinance, they are expected to “distinguish themselves for the good of souls and the glory of the name of the Lord.”
I’ve heard discouraging things over the years about the culture at the Vatican, so this isn’t terribly surprising. Discouraging and embarrassing, yes. But not surprising.