• 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
Helicopter and plane in near-miss in Zurich
Photo: Thilo Hilberer

Helicopter and plane in near-miss in Zurich

A passenger aircraft preparing to land at Zurich airport on Tuesday morning was forced to abort its landing to avoid an unauthorized air ambulance, media reports said on Thursday. READ  

Death threats for young socialist's flag swap plan
Molina suggested party members fly a flag white for peace instead. Photo: Balachandar Radhakrishnan

Death threats for young socialist's flag swap plan

A young politician who called for people to renounce nationalism and militarism by not displaying the country’s distinctive flag on Swiss National Day, August 1st, has received death threats. READ  

Festival fish throwing deemed 'unacceptable'
The fishy tradition dates back a century. Photo: Paul Asman/Jill Lenoble

Festival fish throwing deemed 'unacceptable'

An animal protection organization has called on Zurich’s guild of fishermen to stop throwing dead fish in the streets as part of a traditional parade during the annual Sechseläuten spring festival. READ  

Switzerland fetes 100 years of national park
The Swiss National Park was created in 1914. Photo: Caroline Bishop

Switzerland fetes 100 years of national park

The village of Zernez in the canton of Graubünden will lead celebrations for the 100th birthday of Switzerland’s only national park on August 1st, Swiss National Day. READ  

Geneva Conventions talks tabled for Palestine
Burkhalter and Abbas meet on a state visit in 2013. Photo: AFP Photo/Abbas Momani

Geneva Conventions talks tabled for Palestine

The Swiss foreign ministry said on Wednesday it is in talks about holding an international conference sought by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas focusing on protecting civilians in Gaza. READ  

Swiss man arrested in India over Maoist links
The man was detained in Kerala, India. Photo: Vinoth Chandar

Swiss man arrested in India over Maoist links

Authorities in India arrested a 24-year-old Geneva man on Monday after he attended a memorial for a communist activist in Kerala. READ  

Federer forced to tear down kids' play area
The star has an ongoing dispute with his neighbours. Photo: Sang Tan/Pool/AFP

Federer forced to tear down kids' play area

Authorities have demanded that Swiss tennis champ Roger Federer remove a children’s play area in the garden of his holiday home after neighbours objected. READ  

Zurich taxis charge world’s highest fares
Taxis in Zurich cost more than in 17 other major cities. Photo: eGuide Travel

Zurich taxis charge world’s highest fares

Taxis in Zurich are the most expensive in the world, according to a new survey. Hailing a cab in the Swiss city will cost you more than other major cities including Paris, London and New York. READ  

UBS turns in strong profits despite disputes
UBS achieved a 15 percent net profit rise. Photo: Martin Abegglan

UBS turns in strong profits despite disputes

Leading Swiss bank UBS turned in a strong profit performance in the second quarter, but highlighted on Tuesday the stark risks financial institutions face from campaigns by tax and regulatory bodies. READ  

Swiss-EU relations on discussion table in Rome
Burkhalter and Renzi are meeting in Rome. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Swiss-EU relations on discussion table in Rome

Switzerland’s relationship with the EU is on the agenda today as Swiss President Didier Burkhalter meets Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on an official visit to Rome. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Zurich taxis charge world’s most expensive fares: new survey
National
Swiss bus driver charged with careless driving in fatal Norway crash
National
European Union rejects Swiss bid to rejig freedom of movement deal
Tech
Hackers exploit 'holes' in Swiss online banking systems: IT experts
Sport
Video of Bern football player's spectacular own goal goes global
Tech
Switzerland stays on top of innovation rankings for fourth year
National
Roger Federer and Lindsey Vonn play tennis at Jungfraujoch (VIDEOS)
Business & Money
Competition commission launches probe into Swiss car leasing 'fiddle'
Health
Down's syndrome cases in Switzerland more than double
National
American family files hefty lawsuit over deadly Swiss balloon crash
Features
Graubünden's panoramic Bernina Express celebrates rail history
National
Study rates Zurich as world's fifth most expensive city for expats
National
Swiss-based human brain project directors hit back at research critics
Business & Money
Switzerland gets the edge on EU with China free trade agreement
National
Entries for new Swiss national anthem competition swell over 200
National
Zurich-based helicopter firm denies role in Schumacher medical leak
Culture
Montreux Jazz Festival debuts live internet streaming of concerts
Features
Tour of Bern’s historic fountains tells story of Switzerland's capital
National
Swiss media lament football team's 'cruel' and 'bitter' defeat
International
The Local expands its reach with the launch of new website in Denmark
Sport
Jubilant press hails hat-trick hero Shaqiri as 'Swiss Messi'
National
New website study reveals inequality in Swiss disposable income
Travel
Switzerland’s largest ski area 4-Vallées breaks up over lift dispute
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

2,192
jobs available