• Switzerland's news in English
 

Vatican riddled with gays: ex-Swiss Guard

Published: 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)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
 HSBC boss backs Swiss account as profits slip
HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver. Photo: AFP

HSBC boss backs Swiss account as profits slip

HSBC's boss on Monday fended off criticism about receiving his bonuses through a Swiss bank account held by a Panamanian-registered company, as the banking giant reported a 15-percent drop in annual net profits. READ  

Fire destroys Valais discotheque and bar
Photo: Valais cantonal police

Fire destroys Valais discotheque and bar

An investigation is under way into the cause of a fire on Sunday night that destroyed a discotheque, bar and woodworking shop in Collombey-Muraz, a municipality of around 8,000 people in the canton of Valais. READ  

Federer caught up in bitter cricket rivalry
Federer holding up India cricket shirt. Photo: Roger Federer/Facebook

Federer caught up in bitter cricket rivalry

Swiss tennis star Roger Federer has apologized for getting caught up in the bitter rivalry between Indian and Pakistani cricket fans after he was pictured admiring the blue shirt of World Cup champions India in a marketing photo-shoot. READ  

HSBC CEO 'kept millions in Swiss account'
Photo: AFP

HSBC CEO 'kept millions in Swiss account'

HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver, who vowed to reform the scandal-hit bank, kept millions of dollars in a Swiss account, the Guardian newspaper reported on Sunday. READ  

Same-sex marriage 'backed by most Swiss'
Photo: AFP

Same-sex marriage 'backed by most Swiss'

A majority of Swiss back gay and lesbian marriage, according to the results of surveys published on Sunday by two weeklies. READ  

Breakdowns cancel flights at Geneva airport
Photo: Geneva airport

Breakdowns cancel flights at Geneva airport

The Geneva airport struggled to return to normal operations on Sunday, a day after equipment failures, two fires and snow forced the cancellation of 35 flights and the rerouting of 22 others. READ  

Avalanche kills four skiers in Valais Alps
The avalanche buried five people. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Avalanche kills four skiers in Valais Alps

The death toll from an avalanche that swept away a group of Italian skiers in the Swiss Alps has risen to four after a man died from his injuries, police said on Sunday. READ  

Burkhalter: anti-terror measures a 'priority'
Burkhalter and John Kerry at a meeting last year. Photo: Sebastien Bozon/AFP

Burkhalter: anti-terror measures a 'priority'

Combating violent extremism is a “priority” in Switzerland, Swiss foreign minister and former president Didier Burkhalter has said, telling a counter-terrorism summit in Washington this week that Switzerland has measures in place to prevent the radicalization of youth and the financing of terrorism. READ  

Lausanne man gets 14 years for strangling wife
The trial took place in Yverdon. Photo: Sjaak Kempe

Lausanne man gets 14 years for strangling wife

A Swiss court on Friday sentenced a civil servant from Assens near Lausanne in the canton of Vaud to 14 years in prison for strangling his wife to death at their home and burying her body in a nearby forest. READ  

Updated: several injured in train collision
The accident happened at 6.45am on Friday. Photo: Michael Buholzer/AFP

Updated: several injured in train collision

Two trains slammed into each other in the Swiss town of Rafz north of Zurich early on Friday, leaving passengers injured and train carriages upturned, police and media said. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Army official calls for Swiss women to undergo military training
National
New Swiss health campaign combats smoking as 'norm' for too many
National
Swiss federal government unveils EU immigration quotas bill
Sponsored Article
Avoid the costs of wild Swiss currency swings
Business & Money
HSBC Swiss private bank revelations 'tip of iceberg': whistleblower
Business & Money
FATCA: 'The age of financial privacy is over'
National
Phil Collins' paralyzed ex-wife files lawsuit after Swiss complications
Culture
Gauguin on display in Basel touted as 'most costly painting ever'
Business & Money
Swiss Leaks: HSBC Swiss private bank 'catered to terrorists and crooks'
International
What's keeping British expats in Europe from voting in UK elections?
Business & Money
Trade balance bulges as Switzerland smashes record for exports in 2015
National
Swiss town's ploy against workers living in Italy 'not racist'
National
Architects propose skyscrapers for new Geneva 'urban centre'
Culture
Renowned Israeli conductor dies during symphony in Lucerne
International
Population of Swiss citizens abroad continues to expand
National
Vaud property salesman jailed over costly gambling addiction
National
Right-wing group seeks citizens' vote for national face veil ban
Health
Swiss doctors 'worst' for leaving foreign objects in patients
Features
Anglophone expats in Switzerland mine creativity to earn crust
National
Number of 'immigrants' swells to third of Swiss population: report
International
Pricey Switzerland tops latest global cost of living study
National
Swiss travel agents and retailers cut prices after franc surge
Technology
Solar Impulse team unveils round-the-world route for its plane
Business & Money
Swiss central bank's shock move to let franc rise sparks debate
National
Markets panic as Swiss National Bank scraps euro rate cap
National
VIDEO: Swiss soldiers publish pictures of antics on internet
National
A portrait of modern Switzerland in ten stats
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Features
Geneva-based expat pens seismic novel about Haitian homeland
Features
Tons of explosives finally removed from hundreds of Swiss sites
International
'Don't succumb to fear': Swiss President Sommaruga on terrorism
Sport
Federer claims historic 1,000th win at Brisbane tennis tournament
National
Swiss newspapers condemn deadly Charlie Hebdo terror attack
Business & Money
Hackers steal client information from Geneva cantonal bank
National
Charlie Hebdo terror attack in Paris sparks Swiss rallies
National
Pop star Madonna leaves her mark during Swiss mountain holiday
National
Disassembled Solar Impulse heads to Emirates in jumbo jet
National
US ambassador in Bern sparks flap over Swiss ski lift line 'chaos'
National
New President Sommaruga lauds 'bold' Swiss democracy
National
Hopes fade of finding missing Scottish researcher still alive
National
Scientists in Lausanne and Belgium step up search for alien life
National
Nude 'selfie' mayor heads Switzerland's top ten scandal list
Features
The Local's top ten snow sport alternatives to skiing in Switzerland
Culture
Suspected stabber Nabilla given conditional release from detention
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

1,483
jobs available