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(LifeSiteNews) — Fifty Italian priests have announced that they identify as homosexual in a newly revealed open letter.

The letter was first circulated amongst Italian priests in a clandestine fashion but was eventually picked up by the Italian publication Domani and published on November 30.

The letter is called “Con tutto il mio cuore,” which translates to “With all my heart,” and was initially presented by the priests in September in Bologna as part of the Synod on Synodality.

READ: Italian priest performs nation’s first same-sex ‘blessing’ in diocese of Francis-appointed cardinal

The 50 priests criticize the teachings on the Church in the letter and say that “silence appears as the only way of survival” for homosexual clergy.

The priests also claim that they cannot be accepted in the Church because they “cannot speak openly about [their] homosexual orientation.”

“The Church is not a context in which to find immediate acceptance, especially for us,” they claim.

The letter also bluntly states that “there are homophobic homosexual priests, who push to the outside the conflict they carry within.”

In addition, the letter states that closeted priests are “smothering their own being with clericalism.”

The Italian letter scandalously attempts to blame the suicidal ideation of some priests on the Church’s perennial moral teachings on sexuality.

The fact there are so many identifiable homosexual priests were ordained in Italy is in contradiction to the norms laid out under Pope Benedict XVI and reaffirmed under Pope Francis that “persons with homosexual tendencies” cannot be admitted to Catholic seminaries.

A 2016 document called “The Gift of the Priestly Vocation” that was released with Pope Francis’ approval drew heavily from a 2005 document which banned men who identify as homosexual from entering the priesthood.

The teaching of the Church specifically bans from the priesthood men “who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture.’”

The revelation of rampant homosexuality in the Italian clergy raises questions of the extent of the so-called Lavender Mafia in the Church, which Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò said has had a significant sway over the goings-on in Rome.

The Italian Archbishop wondered if Pope Francis was “being blackmailed” by the homosexual lobby in the Vatican.