This column may contain strong language, sexual content, adult humor, and other themes that may not be suitable for minors. Parental guidance is strongly advised.
When fashion designer Marc Jacobs hosted a drug-fuelled 10-man orgy in his apartment in Oct. 2015, he was at least upfront and unapologetic about his intentions—or appetites. And he sent out his clarion call via Grindr, the gay hook-up app. What he expected in return for his largesse, not to mention his openness regarding his sexual proclivities, was discretion.
Unfortunately, one participant at the orgy wasn’t quite pleased with the eye candy on offer and sniffed to Page Six that “people weren’t as good-looking as I expected. I expected Lorenzo Martone beautiful. They were average, chill people who didn’t have any attitude, which was really nice.”
There were also reportedly drugs during the bacchanal, which raised eyebrows because Jacobs is sober.
So what did Marc Jacobs do when news about the wild sex-and-drugs weekend leaked? He simply posted on Instagram a goodbye of sorts to Grindr, featuring a photoshopped image of him, naked torso and all, with the Grindr logo as the backdrop, and captioned it “Yup. I’m gay. Sometimes I enjoy sex. Sometimes! #stillonlyhuman #callmemarc #yourstotry…maybe.”
Orgies at the Vatican, it would seem, are no less drug-fuelled or wild, though the quality of eye candy may be debatable. Candor approaching Marc Jacobs’ level, however, is clearly lacking; hypocrisy reigns instead.
Consider this: Last month, Vatican police raided the apartment of a prelate who was reported to be an aide of one of the key advisers to Pope Francis. According to the Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano, neighbors had complained about people coming in and out of the apartment acting bizarrely all hours of the night.
Police arrived to find a homosexual orgy in progress, and drugs aplenty. The priest occupying the apartment was apparently so loaded up on cocaine that he was taken to the Pius XI clinic in Rome to detox. In true Catholic fashion, he has since been shunted off to a convent in Italy for what is ostensibly a spiritual retreat, otherwise known as rehab.
The priest is secretary to Francesco Cardinal Coccopalmerio, who serves as the president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, and is close to Pope Francis. And filed under “You Just Can’t Make This Stuff Up,” the Pope is reportedly furious, said the newspaper, as the apartment that served as the den of iniquity actually belongs to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, which is responsible for tackling—wait for it—clerical sexual abuse.
The priest has been identified as Monsignor Luigi Capozzi, and this was not his first orgy, nor was it his first time to overdose. According to Life Site, “Capozzi managed to evade suspicion from Italian police by using a BMW luxury car with license plates of the Holy See, which made him practically immune to stops and searches. This privilege, usually reserved for high-ranking prelates, allowed the monsignor to transport cocaine for his frequent homosexual orgies without being stopped by the Italian police.”
Capozzi, it seemed, was not only a horny, drug-addled bastard, but a wily one as well, which means that while he might plead, as other members of the clergy prone to sexual abuse and molestation have, that he just could not control his urges. Yet he had the presence of mind to use diplomatic plates to evade the police.
But sex scandals and the Catholic Church go together like a round peg in a round hole. Or like Exxon and oil spills. You can try to cover up the mess, but the sludge and the grime and the stench of ick have a way of staining what was once pristine.
Capozzi’s cocaine-laced gay sex scandal comes at the heels of another sex abuse revelation involving another close adviser of Pope Francis, the Australian Cardinal George Pell, who was appointed to oversee the Vatican’s finances. Pell, the third highest-ranking official in the Vatican hierarchy, is on his way back in Australia to defend himself against allegations of sexual abuse.
According to The Washington Post, “Pell, 76, has been plagued by scandal for decades. In Ballarat, where he served as episcopal vicar for education from 1973 to 1984, untold numbers of children were beaten and sexually assaulted by priests and nuns at the St. Alipius Primary School.” So notorious was the school for sexual abuse that the Australian public broadcasting network SBS called it “a pedophile’s paradise and a child’s nightmare.”
Pell has also been under fire for his historical support of another priest and his roommate in the diocese, Gerald Ridsdale, who was also chaplain at the school. Ridsdale eventually pled guilty to charges of sexually assaulting young boys at the school and was imprisoned. Pell, meanwhile, has never been able to shake off accusations of covering up for his former roommate and other members of the Australian clergy. Again, in the manner befitting the Church’s refusal to acknowledge the situation head-on, Ridsdale was merely transferred from parish to parish, which merely allowed him to prey on more young children, the youngest of whom, he admitted, was four years old.
Pell has insisted that he was unaware of the extent of Ridsdale’s crimes. As for the charges he now faces, he insists that he is innocent and determined to clear his name of what he considers to be a “relentless character assassination.”
It would be a supreme irony if Pell were to be found guilty of sexual assault. After all, this is the man who recently said, “The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me.”
But then again, he’s not the first priest to say that.
B. Wiser is the author of Making Love in Spanish, a novel published by Anvil Publishing and available in National Book Store and Powerbooks, as well as online. When not assuming her Sasha Fierce alter-ego, she takes on the role of serious journalist and media consultant.
For comments and questions, e-mail [email protected].
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Preen.ph, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.
Art by Dorothy Guya
Netflix’s The Keepers Is a Reflection of How We Treat Sexual Abuse Victims
What We Learned from the Case of the Photographer Who Harassed His Assistant
Bill Cosby and Other Alleged Rapists Think They Can Always Get Away with It
When Will Religious Atrocities Committed Against Women Stop?