• Switzerland edition
 
Vatican riddled with gays: ex-Swiss Guard
Photo: AFP

Vatican riddled with gays: ex-Swiss Guard

Published: 05 Jan 2014 23:12 GMT+01:00
Updated: 05 Jan 2014 23:12 GMT+01:00

The former guard told weekly newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag that he received up to 20 “unambiguous requests” from members of the clergy, including a dignitary close to Pope John Paul II.

His experience in the 110-man security force, he said, gave credence to reports that a “gay lobby” is active in the Vatican.

The former guard recalled being called in the middle of the night by a senior official who invited him into his room.

In another case, he found a bottle of whisky in his room with a visiting card left by a bishop.

A priest, he said, invited him to dinner, saying that the guard would serve afterwards as dessert.

He also claimed that a high official fondled him.

The ex-guard said that he reported the cases to his superiors, complaining of harassment, but received no support for his allegations.

Urs Breitenmoser, a spokesman for the Swiss Guard, told Schweiz am Sonntag that “the rumour of a homosexual network in the heart of the Vatican was not a problem”.

Moser said the preoccupations of the guards were “above all religious and military”.

But the ex-guard said his experience had shaken his belief in the church.

He said he could not understand the “hypocrisy” of those who oppose sex outside of marriage and support the excommunication of divorcees.

In November, current Pope Francis said at a news conference that he wouldn’t judge priests for their sexual orientation.

“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” the pope said.

“We shouldn’t marginalize people for this,” he added.

“They must be integrated into society.”

Francis said that gay priests should be forgiven and their sins forgotten in a shift from his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI who ruled that gays should not be priests.

The Swiss Guard was shaken earlier by a gay controversy at the Vatican in 1998 when its commander Alois Estermann and his wife were shot dead by young guard Cédric Tornay, who later turned the gun on himself.

According to a book about the Vatican by British journalist John Follain, Tornay and Estermann had a homosexual affair.

Estermann subsequently had a relationship with another guard and refused to award a three-year service medal to Tornay, which led the guard to kill him, Follain maintains.

Last July, an Italian weekly reported that Battista Ricca, appointed by Pope Francis to a top position at the Vatican bank, had had sexual relations with a Swiss army officer, amongst others.

A Vatican spokesman dismissed the report as “not credible”. 

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swiss baby dies after being left in parked car

Swiss baby dies after being left in parked car

A 16-month-old baby died after being forgotten by one of its parents who left the child behind in a company car park, a Swiss prosecutor said Friday. READ  

Petkovic selects squad ahead of England game
Switzerland's Bosnian coach Vladimir Petkovic reveals his squad during a press conference. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Petkovic selects squad ahead of England game

Switzerland manager Vladimir Petkovic on Friday brought Olympiakos midfielder Pajtim Kasami back into the football team and called up three new faces for their opening Euro 2016 qualifier against England. READ  

Fribourg Jazz Parade officially bankrupt
The Jazz festival had accumulated significant debts. Photo: Link-Art/Francois Gendre

Fribourg Jazz Parade officially bankrupt

The Jazz Parade in Marly, canton of Fribourg, whose 26th edition was cancelled in July due to heavy rains and “internal problems”, has been declared bankrupt. READ  

Expats boost high rise in Swiss population
Photo: Richard Allaway

Expats boost high rise in Swiss population

Over two-thirds of Switzerland’s population growth in 2013 can be attributed to foreign immigrants, according to figures published by the Swiss federal office of statistics (BFS). READ  

No repatriation plan for Swiss Ebola victims
Swiss air rescue service Rega is not equipped to deal with the challenges of Ebola. Photo: Rega

No repatriation plan for Swiss Ebola victims

Switzerland does not have the resources to repatriate Swiss victims of the Ebola virus from disease-hit countries and must rely on foreign help, according to a newspaper report published on Thursday. READ  

French base jumper dies after crashing into tree
More than 35 people have died base-jumping in Lauterbrunnen. Photo: Caroline Bishop

French base jumper dies after crashing into tree

A French base-jumper died near Lauterbrunnen in the Bernese Oberland on Wednesday afternoon after crash-landing into a tree, Bern cantonal police confirmed on Thursday. READ  

Geneva group seeks ways to govern internet
WEF's Klaus Schwab: avoiding "fragmenting" the internet. Photo: AFP/File

Geneva group seeks ways to govern internet

The Geneva-based World Economic Forum unveiled a project on Thursday aimed at connecting governments, businesses, academia, technicians and civil society worldwide to brainstorm the best ways to govern the internet. READ  

Media executive jailed in latest 'sexting' case
Photo: Junpal Abe

Media executive jailed in latest 'sexting' case

A 57-year-old man who passed himself off as a 12-year-old girl in online chatrooms in order to obtain naked photos of children was sentenced to four and a half years in prison by a Zurich district court on Wednesday. READ  

Swiss bank Lombard Odier reveals profits
Lombard Odier is the second Swiss private bank in a week to publish its profits. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Swiss bank Lombard Odier reveals profits

Swiss private bank Lombard Odier has published its first results since its foundation over two centuries ago, as the ultra-discreet sector puts its books in the spotlight. READ  

Police car kills man lying on Fribourg motorway
The police car was travelling to an altercation in Payerne. Photo: Alain Rouiller

Police car kills man lying on Fribourg motorway

A police car hit and killed a 22-year-old man who was lying in the middle of the A1 motorway near Bussy in the canton of Fribourg in the early hours of Thursday morning. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Zurich officials call project to move prostitutes to 'sex boxes' a success
National
Swiss gays recognized as parents of child born to surrogate mother
Health
Increase in mountain bike accidents keeps Swiss hospitals busy
National
Swiss policeman belatedly honoured for saving Jews from Holocaust
National
'Suicide tourists' to Switzerland double in three years: study
National
Swiss Post SMS scheme gets stamp of approval after pilot project
Business & Money
American tax evasion crackdown hits Swiss private banks' bottom line
Politics
Woman accuses Swiss politician in nude selfies scandal of lying
National
Villagers in Graubünden valley reject hydro plant to protect vultures
Business & Money
Court rules against appellation for absinthe from Neuchâtel valley
National
Two hundred passengers rescued after landslide derails Swiss train
Travel
Switzerland remains world champion for per capita train travel
Culture
Social media backlash forces Polanski to bow out of Locarno film festival
National
Two policemen identified among three Israelis killed in train crash
Features
Untouched Alps: The Local explores Switzerland's only national park
National
Swiss government secretary tweets nude ‘selfies’ taken at work
International
Swiss couples fined in Ibiza for making love in van without seatbelts
National
Schumacher medical record theft suspect hangs himself in Zurich cell
National
Thousands of motorists drive without permits in Switzerland: report
National
Switzerland celebrates the centennial of national park in Graubünden
National
Animal rights group protests over dead fish throwing at festival
National
Federer forced to tear down kids' play area at Graubünden holiday home
National
Zurich taxis charge world’s most expensive fares: new survey
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,035
jobs available