Pope Francis has ordered a special envoy to investigate a scandal-plagued diocese in northern Italy, where priests have reportedly been posting nude photos on gay websites, keeping girlfriends and raiding the church treasury.
One priest was found guilty of organising an under-age prostitution ring, another was forced to take naked pictures off his Facebook page.
Other accusations include:
• Raiding church coffers and stealing communion money
• Sexually harassing parishioners and courting the “prettiest” faithful
• Priest accused of having courted married woman during a procession
• Living in secret with gay partners
• Getting tattooed
• Moon-lighting as barmen and sleeping with co-workers
• Several priests convicted or investigated for child abuse
At least one priest in the diocese is furious with what’s been allowed to go on: Father Filippo Bardini says the scandal “sickens” him. He surmises that more than half of the 175 priests in the diocese are “bad apples,” with a number involved in outright criminal activities.
Of course, some of the alleged offences are vile and should be punished severely if true. But the minor offences are no big deal. I mean who hasn’t courted the prettiest faithful in their time or courted a married woman during a church procession? As for getting a tattoo and moonlighting as barmen. Really! The only thing less scandalous than that would be living in secret with a gay partner.