A senior priest suspended by the Pope following a documentary in which he “came out” and made advances on another man has denied that he is gay.

With his identity hidden, sixty four year old Monsignor Tommaso Stenico was shown stating that homosexuality was not a sin in the Italian television programme about gay priests.

Vatican officials, however, recognised Stenico’s office in the documentary, which led to his suspension. The Vatican also revealed his identity to the public.

Now Stenico has denied that he is in fact gay in an interview with La Repubblica newspaper: “It’s all false – I was in a trap. I was a victim of my own attempts to contribute to cleaning up the Church with my psychoanalyst work.”

He said that he pretended to be gay on online chat rooms and met with gay men in order to gather information on the subject.

The monsignor claimed that his actions were “to better understand this mysterious and faraway world which, by the fault of a few people – among them some priests – is doing so much harm to the Church.”

According to a Vatican spokesperson, Stenico will remain suspended until an investigation on the matter is completed.

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