Francesco Mangiacapra explains why he sent his 1,200-page dossier to the Church
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Francesco Mangiacapra is on a one-man crusade against homosexual clergy in the Catholic Church. After Church Militant broke the news of Fr. Luca Morini's blackmail scandal and the 1,200-page dossier of priestly misconduct Mangiacapra delivered to the archdiocese of Naples, Italy — now in the hands of the Vatican — the male escort has been all over Italian news explaining his motives — while the Vatican remains silent.
"Every time I've informed them [bishops] about the homosexual relationships of priests, their only interest is to know if the priests have been involved with underage boys — as if the only problem is the threshold of the law," Mangiacapra told Church Militant. "A problem that the Church must face is that many of these men [escorts] — either adolescents or adults — are frequently in conditions of extreme poverty and are mentally and psychologically subjugated by those who represent to them a guide, and use this position to take advantage of these men."
The troubling dossier,initially wrongfully reported as containing the names of 60 priests and seminarians, is officially denouncing 34 priests and 6 seminarians. "The numbers hurriedly published by a few news outlets are imprecise because the names of priests who were simply mentioned in certain conversations were unjustly added to the names that I effectively reported," Mangiacapra clarifies.
The dossier comes after years of frustrated attempts to disclose the identity of his clerical clients. After unmasking Fr. Luca Morini, known as "Don Euro" for his extravagant lifestyle (his preliminary hearing on charges of fraud and blackmail, set for March 8, has been postponed to April 5), Mangiacapra also phoned Bp. Angelo Spinillo, Bishop of Aversa, in order to notify him about two priests of his diocese "who have been leading an actively homosexual lifestyle for years."
One of the priests was Fr. Crescenzo Abbate, temporarily suspended last December after his homosexual practices came to light as he pressed charges of extortion against two escorts who threatened to expose a video of the three of them having sex. When asked by newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano why he hasn't followed up on the case after Mangiacapra's call, Spinillo exclaimed: "What should have I done? We're not the Gestapo, we are the Church!" And about doubting Mangiacapra, he said, "What sort of credibility does one have who makes a living as an escort?"
Mangiacapra explains in the dossier's introductory note why he's now going to the press, as all of his previous attempts to bring these priests forward were often met with indifference: "I present this catalogue of bad apples not with the intention of defaming the Church, but to help weed out those who contaminate everything else that is righteous."
"Usually the prelates only react when the cases explode in the mass media: The behavior of the bishops who have been informed but choose not act is one of omertà," he continued, referring to the code of silence among criminals. "They only intervene when there's a scandal."
He confirmed this when speaking to Il Mattino: "The behavior of these priests and of the hierarchy that protects them disgusts me. Many bishops who will now receive the dossier in their dioceses have known what their priests were up to for a long time."
The behavior of these priests and of the hierarchy that protects them disgusts me.
This isn't the first time the Naples archdiocese has had to deal with the problem of homosexuality among its priests. Exactly one year ago, an anonymous letter was delivered to the chancery with documents providing evidence that local priests had been using the services of several male escorts. One of them was Fr. Mario D'Orlando, who denies everything despite his suspension after the archdiocese archived the case last December. Broadcast show Le Iene (which also uncovered the details of Fr. Morini's case nationally), was recently seen following Fr. Orlando in Naples while allegedly showing him footage of one of his dates with an escort. The episode is still to air.
Church Militant reached out to Francesco Mangiacapra to ask about details of this 2017 letter. He answered that although he is aware of the letter's existence, he doesn't know who the authors might be.
Mangiacapra went to the Naples archdiocese because it was the closest to his own home, but mainly because after years of being ignored by bishops and prelates, he wished to deal directly with someone he trusted: Fr. Luigi Ortaglio, chancellor of the archdiocese. The escort condemns the comments of the archbishop of Naples, Cdl. Crescenzio Sepe, who told the press that the escort "wanted to use the Curia of Naples as a post office: As a bishop I have no authority over the other dioceses called into question."
This is in reference to the fact that there aren't any priests of the archdiocese of Naples in the dossier. The respective dioceses have been informed and, according to the official statement of Cdl. Sepe, the dossier was passed on to the Vatican. The Cardinal also emphasized that even though "there aren't any names to be attributed to the diocese of Naples, there remains the gravity of the cases for which those who have erred must pay the price, and be helped to repent for the harm done."
Mangiacapra commented, "Msgr. Sepe's declaration, stressing that the priests weren't from Naples, sounded almost as if he wanted to pass the buck. I wish I'd gotten a different response. When I go to a priest, I think he represents the Church in its totality, and I expect him to act accordingly."
Disturbing Contents of the Dossier
The explicit content of Mangiacapra's documents disturbed Italian audiences. Talk show hostess Barbara D'Urso, who viewed some of the files before welcoming Mangiacapra on her show, called them "shocking." Catholic news website Aleteia described them as "of a telling level of perversion."
Only the less graphic messages were made public: Some reveal priests and seminarians who indulge in Skype masturbation sessions in between spiritual exercises or religious services; priests who arrange threesomes in remote hermitages after exchanging pictures of their genitals; and the planning of sex parties in rectories.
In one of the messages, a priest invites a seminarian "to go and meet another horny, big-c***ed priest." The article published by local Calabrese newspaper QuiCosenza shows a conversation between two priests who arrange to meet in a hotel room (while carefully making sure there wouldn't be other priests around), where one of them demands that when he arrives, the other priest be naked and ready to engage in sexual acts.
To popular radio program La Zanzara, Mangiacapra remarked that "the most sordid thing I've seen was a priest who ejaculated in front of a statue of Our Lady of Fátima. I saw that with my own eyes. And the orgies. And the fact that they have sex in the churches as well."
I saw that with my own eyes. And the orgies. And the fact that they have sex in the churches as well.
The dossier also mentions a coadjutor of the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran (the cathedral of the diocese of Rome, known as "Mother and Head of All the Churches on Earth") who pretends to be a diplomat when meeting with escorts. Finally, there is the case of one priest currently under house arrest for pedophilia, but who still manages to have escorts sent directly to his home.
Homosexuality in the Priesthood
Mangiacapra was clear when affirming that none of his files involved pedophilia that "there were no crimes, only sins." Church Militant asked him if he knew if the priest was under house arrest for pedophilia or for ephebophilia, which is usually the case with homosexual priests, and the escort said that he didn't know how old the victim was.
We also asked him about the problem of ephebophilia in the homosexual community, to which he replied: "I don't have enough scientific background on the matter to judge if ephebophilia is a common deviation in the homosexual world, or if it is specific to the clergy: but no expertise is needed to understand that ephebophilia is a much graver violation if practiced by those in superior moral and social positions, like priests."
The dossier prompted immediate reactions from some of the dioceses involved. The diocese of Tursi-Lagonegro released a statement urging people to come forward with evidence about priests engaging in sexual misconduct. The diocese of Teggiano Policastro's statement affirmed its availability "to undertake a path of purification." The diocese of Cosenza has opened a counseling center to handle the concerns of the faithful regarding problematic clergy.
But Mangiacapra remains skeptical. "My goal is not to revolutionize the ecclesiastical system," he told Church Militant. "I want the highest authorities of the Church to reflect on the fact that not all of these mad situations can be repaired, and that in many of the cases the real solution isn't forgiveness, or hoping for a cure or a sudden change of behavior, but the acknowledgment that these people are incompatible with priesthood and they should be defrocked."
In spite of death threats and much criticism from the LGBT community, who accused Mangiacapra of "co-operating with homophobes" and "further stigmatizing homosexuality and gay priests," Mangiacapra says he was also thanked by many righteous priests.
"I am an atheist, but I want to help the Church," he told Church Militant. "The priests who weren't contaminated by all this have already started to thank me. They call me to compliment me for what I've done."
The outed priests haven't reacted as positively. Mangiacapra revealed to OndaNews: "People in ecclesiastical offices have told me that the main concern of several priests in the diocese of Salerno is to know if their names are in my dossier. These priests should be worried about the incompatibility of their vocation: This is the real cause of scandal. My dossier is nothing but the physiological effect."
In another interview, he asserted, "Of all the priests mentioned in the dossier, only two have admitted the truth. Two! Everyone else continues to deny it" — a fact confirmed by a report from Il Fatto Quotidiano. To newspaper Libero, Mangiacapra added: "I’m known as the 'priests' escort.' I have no idea how many priests have been in my bed, but it is certainly more than I've managed to identify. Priests have no sense of guilt at all: They think sexual and homosexual freedom is entirely their right."
Priests have no sense of guilt at all: They think sexual and homosexual freedom is entirely their right.
Mangiacapra claims to have renounced a good share of his income over the matter: "I could continue to make money with these people, but I chose to give up these earnings to expose the rottenness of their behavior," he said. "Priests willingly pay better than everyone else."
"I ask the people who accuse me of doing this for money to consider how much worse the priests' attitudes are," he continued. "They get money from the Eight per Thousand [the mandatory Italian charity tax by which a compulsory percentage of tax return goes to an organized religion], and then go and spend it on prostitutes! I was tired of selling my dignity, other than my body."
The only financial damages Mangiacapra is seeking from Fr. Morini's trial is 1 euro.
When asked if he feared for his life, Mangiacapra told Church Militant, "Why should I fear for my life? I haven't harmed anybody. Reporting these people wasn't a choice; I couldn't be complicit with those who every Sunday try to rob me of my honest and hard-accomplished sexual freedom, while they stealthily have that for themselves."
"I'm willing to compromise my personal freedom for this," he continued. "To shut me up they'll have to kill me, but until then, I'll continue to talk, to write and to openly condemn their behavior."
He then touched on the topic of the Church's gay lobby: "I hope my dossier causes real fear in a lobby that considers itself untouchable, and is now imploding."
"First in my book [Number One: Confessions of a Prostitute] and then in the dossier, I've shown many times that a true and proper lobby of gay priests indeed exists, like freemasonry," he explained. "They all know each other, they hang out together, they support one another. It's their widespread practice to gather in large groups, some of them are in relationships, sometimes for years."
When discussing the gay lobby issue in the Italian press, Mangiacapra commented that the gay lobby in the Vatican should pay attention to a "lobby of escorts and former seminarians, ready to provide a lot of evidence." In fact, the material collected by Mangiacapra is the fruit of years of assembling indisputable proof, with the contribution of many of his fellow escorts.
Mangiacapra explained to Church Militant that "many former seminarians and former priests have also, voluntarily, helped me uncover a few prelates."
Asked whether other escorts would have the courage to come forward publicly, Mangiacapra was uncertain: "A lot of these people live in economic hardship and have a fragile mental and cultural structure, so they cannot afford to put themselves through this kind of situation."