Friday, 21 February 2014


Elmar Maeder, who headed the Swiss Guards from 2002-2008, told the Swiss newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag that he didn't doubt that predatory gays worked at the Vatican. He was quoted as saying that in his experience, "many homosexuals tend to be more loyal toward each other than toward other people or institutions." He said he wouldn't promote gay guards out of fear they might be disloyal.
In an interview with La Repubblica, Archbishop Angelo Becciu, No. 2 in the Vatican's secretariat of state, urgedMaeder to provide names to back his accusations. His office confirmed his quotes Friday.

A former commander of the Swiss Guard, the small force of men whose job it is to protect the pope, has said there is "a network of homosexuals" within the Vatican, the latest in a series of claims about gay priests working at the heart of the Roman Catholic church.
Elmar Mäder, who was commandant of the Guard from 2002 until 2008, said his time at the heart of the Vatican had given him an insight into certain aspects of life there. "I cannot refute the claim that there is a network of homosexuals. My experiences would indicate the existence of such a thing," he told the Swiss newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag.
Famed for their striking uniforms of blue, red and orange, recruits to the Guard swear to protect the pope and his successors with their lives.
Mäder, 50, from the canton of St Gallen, refused to comment on speculation that he had warned guardsmen about the behaviour of certain priests.
Earlier this month, the same newspaper reported the claims of a former, unnamed member of the Guard that he had been the target of more than 20 "unambiguous sexual requests" from clergy while serving in the force.
Recounting a dinner in a Rome restaurant, the man was quoted as saying: "As the spinach and steak were served, the priest said to me: 'And you are the dessert'."
At the time, spokesman Urs Breitenmoser said the rumoured gay network did not pose a problem to the Swiss Guard, whose members he said were motivated by entirely different interests.
Asked about the claims, Mäder reportedly said stories of this kind "obviously lacking in factual basis" were sometimes told. But the facts remained clear, he added. "
A working environment in which the great majority of men are unmarried is per se a draw for homosexuals, whether they consciously seek it out or unconsciously follow an urge," he said.
"The Roman Curia [the Vatican's bureaucracy] is exactly this kind of environment."
Though it does not condemn gay people, whom it says should be "accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity," the catechism of the Catholic church teaches that homosexual acts are "objectively disordered" and calls gay people to abstinence.Mäder, while he said he did not have a problem with homosexuality, said he feared that a network or secret society of gay people within the Vatican could pose security problems. He added that he would not have promoted a gay man in the Guard – not because of his sexuality but because "the risk of disloyalty would have been too high".
Mäder said: "I also learned that many homosexuals are inclined to be more loyal to each other than to other people or institutions," he said.
"If this loyalty were to go as far as to become a network or even a kind of secret society, I would not tolerate it in my sphere of decision making. Key people in the Vatican now seem to think similarly."
The comments appeared to be referring to a remark made by Pope Francis on the flight home from Brazil last summer. "They say there are some gay people here. I think that when we encounter a gay person, we must make the distinction between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of a lobby, because lobbies are not good," the pontiff told journalists, while at the same time joking that, while there was a lot of talk about a gay lobby, he had never seen it stamped on a Vatican identity card.
While Francis signalled a clear conciliatory tone on the issue, he added: "If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them?" Mäder's comments about the supposed threat posed by gay guards and priests drew criticism among rights advocates in Italy.
"Along with all gay people in the armed forces, I would advise Mäder to become better informed," said Aurelio Mancuso, chairman of Equality.
Franco Grillini, chairman of Gaynet, added: "Statistically, gays are the least violent group in human society so if the pope were really surrounded by homosexuals, he could sleep easy."


  1. From time immemorial the Swiss Guard have been on the receiving end of amorous advances from the clergy of all levels who work in the Vatican. They seem to take it in their stride, seeing it as very much part of the territory. During my time in Rome (in the 80's and 90's) we played soccer with some of the guardsmen and it was amusing to hear of the nick names that they gave to some of the very high ranking curial officials who pestered them, trying to catch their eyes. So there was "Virginella", a prominent Italian monsignor who later became a Cardinal, and "Jessica", another prominent Roman monsignor who did not. These two priests were extremely camp, and openly flirtatious, with the usually handsome six foot guards, but no more than that. The guards I knew saw this as an occupational hazard. What was more disturbing was that the Swiss Guard were used to spy on all curial officials. As they manned every entrance to the tiny State, they knew exactly who was coming in and out, and with whom, and at what hour (the Vatican City has a curfew at 10pm when all the gates are shut. After that hour everyone, be they Pope, Cardinal, Archbishop or lowly priest has to enter or exit via the Swiss Guardhouse). This information was "fed up" to the Secretary of State, or in those days, the Pope's Private Secretary, the all-powerful and all-seeing Monsignor (now Cardinal) Stanislaw Dziwisz. This information was not necessarily used immediately, but carefully stored for future use. It is alleged that it was Dziwisz who got rid of Monsignor John Magee, Private Secretary to thee Popes, then Papal Master of Ceremonies, exiling him from the Vatican to the remote diocese of Cloyne, even though John Paul II had a considerable soft-spot for the handsome Newry born cleric. Dziwisz was kept informed of Magee's comings and goings by the Swiss Guard. They are not called the "eyes and ears of Peter" for nothing.

  2. Not promoting a guard because he is gay is discrimination and would be an offence in the UK. I have no doubt that some Swiss Guards are gay. Being adult and gay is legal in most western states except for the Vatican City State which is autonomous. I would query if the civil law of the Vatican State is in breach of human rights. Perhaps somebody should check this. Then there is the moral dilema. The perceived law of God vs the law of the street in the good old SCV(Vatican City) Sean glad to be shut of the place but I sometimes wonder if all religions are the same when it comes to putting the person first-Sean

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