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In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy

The Catholic Church, writes Frédéric Martel, is ‘a system built ... on the homosexual double life and on the most dizzying homophobia … Without this key for understanding, the recent history of the Vatican and the Roman Church remains opaque.'

How is Martel qualified to make such statements? He is an acclaimed academic and journalist in France, and the author of several widely translated books on contemporary culture and political science, including The Pink and the Black, On Culture in America and Global Gay. His latest book, In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy, is the result of four years worth of investigative journalism, including hundreds of interviews across many corners of the globe, in efforts to understand the scope and culture of homosexuality within the Catholic Church.

Many of his sources – including priests, cardinals, Vatican administrative staff and sex workers – have spoken to Martel about widespread clerical homosexuality under terms of anonymity. Their combined testimony paints a portrait of a bizarre culture of conspiracy and cover-up, with ramifications that extend way beyond the sexual identities of individual priests and into church policies on contraception, IVF and the handling of cases of sexual abuse.  

The Vatican, as Martel describes it, is a place of surreal duplicity. But an investigation with mostly anonymous sources raises its own questions about double standards. Join Martel for a discussion of his remarkable book with Sally Warhaft in June.

Metropolis will be our bookseller at this event.

Who?

Portrait of Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer. She hosts the Fifth Estate, the Wheeler Centre’s live series focusing on journalism, politics, media, and international relations, now in its ninth year. She is a former editor of the Monthly magazine and the author of the bestselling book Well May We Say: The Speeches that Made Australia.

Sally is a regular host and commentator on ABC radio and has a PhD in anthropology. She did her fieldwork in Mumbai, India, living by the seashore with the local fishing community.

Portrait of Frédéric Martel

Frédéric Martel

Frédéric Martel is a Researcher and Writer. He has a PhD in Social Sciences and four Master Degrees in Law, Political science, Philosophy and Social Science (University La Sorbonne). He has been visiting scholar at Harvard University and taught at Sciences-Po Paris and at the HEC’s Business School MBA in Paris.

He is the author of ten books, including On Culture in America (Gallimard, 2006), the bestseller Mainstream : On the Global War on Culture and Medias (Flammarion, 2010, translated in twenty countries) and Smart, on the internets (Stock, 2014). 

The Fifth Estate

For in-depth insider analysis of current affairs, it doesn't get any better than The Fifth Estate. 

This long-running series is a mainstay of the Wheeler Centre’s programme, and of public conversation in Melbourne. Twice a month, our in-house news anchor Sally Warhaft hosts guests from the world of politics, culture, journalism and international relations to dissect pressing questions of policy, power and public affairs. It's free, it's fortnightly and it's a chance to give complex local and global issues the thoughtful discussion they deserve.

Guests are announced in the weeks prior to events, so keep an eye on our website (or the Wheeler Weekly newsletter) for updates. Subscribe to the popular Fifth Estate podcast – or book a (free) ticket – for expert analysis on today's key debates.

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