LETTER FROM A MALE ROMAN ESCORT
Dear Bishop Buckley,
You may be surprised to know that your Blog is being read by people in Rome and even in the Church in Rome?
For obvious reasons I have to ask you not to publish my real name. I am in my late 30’s and from the US but have been living in Rome now for nearly 18 years. I came here to study for the priesthood but the circumstances I want to tell you about led to my giving up my priesthood studies. I now realise that I do not have a vocation to the priesthood.
From the age of 15 I felt called to the priesthood. After finishing high school I applied to my local bishop to study for the priesthood and was accepted into the seminary. When I was 21 the bishop sent me to do my theological studies in Rome. I fell in love with Rome and still love it.
I have known since puberty that I was gay. I had one or two brief encounters with other guys when I was in high school. In the seminary the majority of us were gay and I fell in love with another seminarian there and we had a full relationship. The rector of the seminary found out about it and he expelled my friend but for some reason allowed me to stay. The other seminarians said that I was kept because I was so handsome?
When I came to Rome I was surprised at how many of the seminarians (and priests) here are gay and actively gay. The students from your own college, The Irish College were especially active on the gay scene.
I got into the gay scene and had many encounters with seminarians and priests. One of the priests introduced me to a visiting bishop and when he came to Rome I met him for dinner and stayed overnight with him in his hotel and we had sex.
This whole part of my life then developed into providing sexual services for priests, monsignors, bishops and even higher ranking church dignitaries. You would be shocked to hear of the people I looked after sexually – right up to the College of cardinals.
I came to realise that I did not have a vocation to the priesthood and I found my faith in God being challenged by the conduct of Rome’s clergy, bishops etc. For a while I gave up on God completely.
For providing these sexual services for high tanking church officials living in and visiting in Rome I was showered with money and gifts – gifts like a Rolex watch, an Apple iPad and even a car.
When I left the seminary one of my senior clergy contacts provided me with a small apartment to live in and has time has gone along I have arranged to buy that apartment and should own it in the next 2 to 3 years.
I have an Italian partner and he knows about the “work” I do for the clergy. He is not completely happy about it and I intend to give it up when I have the apartment paid off fully. I would like to get a normal job and settle down with my partner and have a civil partnership.
I also realise that I am nearly 40 and even though I am still fit and handsome (the gym 3 times a week) the time is coming when I will be replaced by younger guys.
I have begun to go to Mass again and pray and realise that I must not mix up God with church people. I have been totally shocked by the corruption of the church in Rome and Italy.
I have read your book A Thorn in the Side. It was given to me by an Irish priest. I also know from the internet that you have recently had other difficulties. But at least you are who you say you are and you are open and honest about your life. For that I admire you.
If I come to Ireland I would like to meet you for a chat and if you come to Rome we could meet for coffee or lunch. I imagine you avoid Rome like the plague J
Please pray for me and my partner that we can settle down and that I can put the last 15 – 20 years behind me. Do not misunderstand me. I am not a victim. I played the game willingly. But as I get near 40 I realise that life is too short for games and I need to develop a totally new life and career.
Maybe like Mary Magdala I can meet the Lord in a new way and make the rest of my life more meaningful and productive. Take care. ………………………
BISHOP PAT REPLIES:
Thank you for your very unexpected email with all it's honesty and truthfulness. Nothing you said came as any surprise or shock to me as you can well imagine.
I am glad that after the years you have had you are on the verge of creating a new life for you and your partner. Like you say, you were not a "victim" as such - but you were very young?
Now you are older and wiser and you are realising that there is more to life than pleasure and money. In fact some of the unhappiest people I know are rich!
These past few days I have been thinking and praying a lot about King David from the Bible. David was a sinner - he not only committed adultery but murdered his mistress' husband. And yet God forgave him and used him greatly. The great thing about God is that when he FORGIVES - He FORGETS.
I have loved Mary Magdaly since I was 21 - forty years ago now. In fact I placed her image on my ordination card when I was ordained at 24. I have also celebrated Mass in Magdala in her honour.
You and your partner would be very welcome here at my house any time. No, I do not go to Rome often. I would not be beloved there. But if I do I will let you know.
I had been hoping that Francis might have named me one of the new cardinals :-) But I will just have to wait until the next consistory :-)
I wish you well in your future. Thank you for writing to me and trusting me with your name and personal details. We can keep in touch.