By Peter J. Smith

  VATICAN CITY, October 15, 2007 ( – The Vatican immediately suspended a high ranking prelate on Saturday working in the Congregation for the Clergy, one of its highest departments, after identifying him as a priest anonymously soliciting homosexual sex in a recent documentary exposing homosexual infiltration into the Catholic priesthood.   

  A speedy investigation into the matter was promised. Papal spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told the news agency ANSA that “The authorities are obliged to act with the necessary severity against behaviour that is incompatible with religious service and the mission of the Holy See.”    

  Vatican officials studying the October 1 documentary broadcast by the Italian television network La7, nabbed Monsignor Tommaso Stenico, one of the three section heads in the Congregation for the Clergy, who was recorded making homosexual advances and insisting that homosexual acts were not sinful. The Congregation is responsible for the formation of diocesan priests and deacons, oversees the religious formation of the faithful, and issues norms for national catechisms.

  The documentary blurred Stenico’s face and altered his voice, but Vatican officials recognised his office decor in the video and then matched him with the anonymous priest with the office in San Pietro piazza, the very heart of the Vatican.    

  The Vatican confronted Stenico and announced on Saturday it had suspended him on account of “behaviour incompatible with priestly duty” pending the results of an internal investigation.
  The La7 documentary reveals that Stenico had solicited a homosexual on an internet chat room to meet him at his office for sadomasochistic sex. Instead Stenico had unwittingly ensnared himself in a journalistic sting operation against homosexual priests and arranged his tryst with an undercover journalist bent on exposing what he believed is hypocrisy in the Catholic Church.
  La7’s television audience watched Stenico – completely unaware of the secret recording devices – sit alongside the young man and say, “You’re cute. You’re totally cute.”

  The young man replied, “Thank you. But you’re about to commit something with me that is a sin in the eyes of God.”

“No, I don’t consider it a sin,” Stenico responded. On the subject of sadomasochistic sex, he said that these are “inner choices, the psychological basis of a personality.”   

  As the young man continued to ask how the monsignor could just violate the Catholic Church’s teachings on homosexuality, Stenico finally stood up in apparent irritation and cut off the meeting.

“We’re not going to do anything because you have too many restrictions,” Stenico said. Just before the young man left, Stenico placed his hand on the young man’s leg and tells him, “You’re really tasty.”

  The Vatican had withheld Stenico’s name, until the monsignor exposed himself in a media blitz to explain away the video. He told the Italian media that he was actually acting undercover to expose a Satanist plot to discredit honest priests.

“It’s all false – I was in a trap,” Stenico told the Italian daily, La Repubblica. “I was a victim of my own attempts to contribute to cleaning up the Church with my psychoanalyst work.”

  Stenico said he is not a homosexual, but was posing as a “thief among thieves” in the homosexual world while he perused gay online chat rooms to meet gay men.   

“In this manner I discovered that it is true. There really is a diabolical plan by groups of Satanists who target priests.”

  Stenico has admitted his alleged project was completely hidden from any of his superiors in the Vatican. However his position in the Vatican requires him to seek approval and oversight as a matter of routine protocol for any project from the head of his congregation, and casts doubts either on his competency at best or his innocence at worst.

  See the La7 documentary here: