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Podcast episodeCover image for of In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy

The Fifth Estate

In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy  /  Faith, religion & spirituality

Sally Warhaft and Frédéric Martel

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 BlackOn 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.

 
Podcast episodeCover image for of Jill Abramson

The Fifth Estate

Jill Abramson  /  Internet, journalism, media & publishing

Sally Warhaft and Jill Abramson on stage at the Athenaeum Theatre — Photo: Scott Limbrick

How should the media survive the current age? It’s a question that haunts the bones of many in the industry, and a through-line of Merchants of Truth, a bracing new account of American journalism’s moral crisis written by Jill Abramson.

A former executive editor of the New York Times, and a widely-respected media veteran, Abramson looks at fake news, click-bait and the commercial objectives of Facebook and Google. Her unflinching – sometimes bleak – investigations take readers to the front-line of the essential and existential decisions being made at the heart of four key outlets: BuzzfeedVICE, the Times and the Washington Post. Against Facebook virality and Google’s algorithm, can hallowed principles of objectivity and impartiality survive?

The first woman to hold many of the senior roles she’s occupied, Abramson shares what she’s learned through her celebrated career. She also addresses the criticism and controversy surrounding the book: she has been accused of being dismissive towards young, digitally savvy journalists and their readerships’ interests, and of factual errors and plagiarism – charges which she refutes.

With host Sally Warhaft, join us for a fascinating and frank discussion with one of modern journalism’s most experienced figures, and an exploration into the future of media.

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