"Sodoma": "80 percent of the male Roman Catholic clergy who work at the Vatican, around the pope, are gay. "

NYTimes: A sensational new book mines the Catholic Church’s sexual secrets.

It will come out in eight languages and 20 countries, under the title “Sodoma,” as in Sodom, in Western Europe and “In the Closet of the Vatican” in the United States, Britain and Canada. It includes the claim that about 80 percent of the male Roman Catholic clergy who work at the Vatican, around the pope, are gay. It contends that the more showily homophobic a Vatican official is, the more likely he belongs to that crowd, and that the higher up the chain of command you go, the more gays you find. And not all of them are celibate. Not by a long shot.

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In a telephone interview on Thursday, Martel stressed that the 80 percent isn’t his estimate but that of a former priest at the Vatican whom he quotes by name in the book. But he presents that quotation without sufficient skepticism and, in his own words, writes, “It’s a big majority.” He says that “In the Closet of the Vatican” is informed by about 1,500 interviews over four years and the contributions of scores of researchers and other assistants. I covered the Vatican for The Times for nearly two years, and the book has a richness of detail that’s persuasive. It’s going to be widely discussed and hotly debated. It depicts different sexual subcultures, including clandestine meetings between Vatican officials and young heterosexual Muslim men in Rome who work as prostitutes.