Members of the Vatican’s Swiss Guard
A former Vatican Swiss Guard has come forward with claims that he was regularly propositioned by members of the clergy for sex.
The unnamed man told the Swiss newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag that he received up to 25 “unambiguous requests” for sex from cardinals, bishops, priests and other Vatican officials, including one close to Pope John Paul II.
He also claimed that he had been fondled by a senior official and had been invited for dinner and was plied with gifts to get him to have sex with officials, who have been described as being part of a “gay network” at the Vatican.
“One night, sometime after midnight, I received a call on my mobile phone. The person on the other end said he was a cardinal and asked me to come to his room,” the former guard said, reported The Telegraph.
The man, who served as a Swiss Guard from 1978 until 2005, insisted that he had reported the harassment but that his complaints had been dismissed as misunderstandings.
“Rumours of a gay network inside the Vatican are not our problem,” Urs Moser, a spokesman for the corps, told the Swiss paper. “Our men concern themselves purely with religious and military matters.”
Founded in 1506, the Pontifical Swiss Guards are Swiss citizens who make up the military of Vatican City and are responsible for the security of the Pope and the Vatican.
In June last year it was reported that Pope Francis shared his predecessor Benedict XVI’s concerns about a gay lobby or network exercising “inappropriate influence” in the Vatican.
It is believed that a report identified a number of meeting places in and around Rome – including a villa and a sauna – for members of the gay lobby; where gay sex acts had presumably taken place.