Prayer, Porn, and Prada at the Vatican

The origin of the red Prada shoes is just one closely guarded secret surrounding the life of Pope Benedict XVI.

Poperedshoes_1Others, having to do with Italians and their relationship with the church, their families, and the closet are addressed in an article by Michael Joseph Gross which appears in the new issue of Out. Gross takes a look at Rome’s past and present gay history and its relationship with that Catholic city-within-a-city, the Vatican, described to him by an American expat as “one of the most homophobic institutions in the world and probably the most gay institution in the world, outside of gay nightclubs.”

Here’s a brief but amusing excerpt. One of the folks Gross interviewed for the piece was Italy’s most popular gay TV personality, Fabio Canino (not to be confused with Fabio Cannavaro), who described a colorful lunch date he’d had at the Vatican:

“Fabio Canino says he received a mysterious invitation a few years ago to lunch at the Vatican with a cardinal. ‘I walked in,’ he remembers, ‘and I thought the person in front of me was a drag queen, not a cardinal.’ He flings his arms up in imitation and cries out, lisping, ‘Hel-lo, sweetie!’
The prelate, he says, eagerly dished his Vatican colleagues, referring to one black cardinal as ‘Naomi’ (after Naomi Campbell). As Canino tells the story, he called the cardinal a hypocrite and asked how, as a gay man, he could serve this homophobic institution. The cardinal looked at him across the lavish table where they sat and said, ‘I have everything here.’

Before Canino left, the cardinal—like a politician, or a parent—told him to get in touch if he ever needed help. Some time later, when Canino produced a play in Rome, the production was stuck without a rehearsal space. Canino says he called the cardinal in desperation and was immediately granted the use of a room in the Vatican. He says the cardinal also arranged for the Vatican printing office to produce, for free, the souvenir script that was sold at the play to raise money for a local AIDS foundation.

The title of the play? Making Porn.”

And it isn’t just those in the lower ranks rumored to be gay; whispered about by gay Romans almost as much as the red shoes is Pope Benedict’s relationship with his “personal secretary” Monsignor Georg Gänswein. After reading the piece it doesn’t surprise me at all that the Pope hired Italian “gay icon” Serra Yilmaz to act as his translator on his recent trip to Turkey. Religious icons and gay icons seem to mix in Rome fairly fluidly.

When in Rome [out]


  1. Matt says

    This is no surprise. Man has been selling each other out since the dawn of time. If I had access to almost unlimited wealth and power, I would probably sell out too.

  2. mark m says

    I’m not Catholic but I did bury myself in my religion when I was young, not necessarily trying to change my orientation, but rather run from it.

    I can see how easily the Catholic Church went from young men running from their orientation, to old men RUNNING the church, and still denouncing the life they tried to escape.

    It lends credence to my opinion that most of the world’s homophobes are actually homos.

  3. Cory says

    “Out of the way Naomi” ROFL that image is crackin’ me up…

    My first thought was this is a bunch of b.s., it just seems so extraordinary to me. Why? Why are gay men selling each other out? The Evangelists, the RNC, clergy, Foley, Mehlman, even McGreevey -whom I lovingly call McSceevey, Haggart, etc etc. I suppose Bill Maher said it best when Larry King asked him why are the majority of the homophobes closeted gay men. “Cause, Larry, hating oneself is the greatest love of all.” …

    I was a little peeved about the whole “outing” of gays as I stated here a while ago that it was no ones business to out any one allegations about RNC chairman Mehlma). Now I take that back. If these people supposedly are closeted, know it, and make extreme efforts in making homophobic agenda’s prime issues, f&^k ’em! I say out the bastards lol…

    …and Mark M, thanks for getting my back in the other comments section =)

  4. Anon says

    If the church changed dogma and supported gay men then everyone would accuse them of being gay themselves, so their policy protects them from that in part. Think of it as a really big closet.

  5. Andrew says

    ‘Anon’, I half way agree with you. What the progressive Catholic church wants is the ability for Priests to marry. They believe that will take care of the ‘tendency’ for same-sex interaction. Another idea is for Sisters to be able to give Communion-not going to happen in our lifetime. So meanwhile men who have repressed homo feelings, and think the Church will save them keep signing up-to mediocre results.

  6. pbnyc59 says

    In days of yore the church was a way out, for men who did not want to marry, as many did with joing the army. Now that is no longer the case, as is seen with the sharp drop in those joining the priesthood. My gay friends who went thru the seminary said that about half were gay, I’m sure it was much higher back in our dear Pope’s day.

    He does look like a big old Queen. I guess the Devil does wear Prada.

  7. dave says

    Aaron, Mr. prelate for October is really cute, but I could never marry him because I’m Jewish too! My parents would have a fit. “A shagitz? You’re marrying a shagitz?”

  8. rob says

    The Catholic Church says that gay ‘orientation’ is acceptable, but practicing homosexualty is not. It also says that sex (for straight people) outside of marriage is unacceptable….is it possible that this Pope is a very style conscious man or perhaps even a non-practicing gay man?? Personally I don’t care. Why is it hugely taboo to be anti-semitic but perfectly acceptable to bash the Pope???

  9. brainiac_amour says

    Sheesh, even the catholic church is doing a hot calendar now.
    I totally buy the gay cardinal story after seeing this..

    (mr oct is saved to my pictures!)

  10. just sayin' says

    I must say “il Papa” has good yet edgy taste. Red is such a challenging colour, especially when it comes to footwear; yet he carries it off with aplomb like the true Fashionista that he is.


  11. jimmyboyo says

    Disgusting hypocricy

    To my gay jewish brothers , don’t be too proud …..orthedox jews are more than happy to stone, stab, etc us gays….They particularly hate you as jewish gays since us goyim really don’t count as humans anyway in orthedox judaism, and their disgust with us is in our not being jewish to begin with.

    All religions are crap….all current monotheistic religions hate us gays.

    Toss all 3 monotheistic relgions on the trash heap of history.

  12. Dave says

    Jimmyboyo – I’m one of the nice Jewish gay boys who posted earlier – I’m ready to toss organized religion on the trash heap, no problems. Monotheistic, polytheistic, pantheisitc, whatever …
    All the same, while orthodox Jews can be as stupid and blind as other fundamentalists, and some really hate gays, you’ve got the goyim part wrong. Who told you that goys are considered not human? Some cranky old Jew? You know that “goyim” literally means “the nations” – as opposed to “the Israelites”. Not subhuman – just “the others.”
    OK – after 2 thousand+ years of a rough ride “goyim” can be used in a nasty way. Forget it.

  13. jimmyboyo says

    First so others know what the Talmud is “The Talmud consists of 63 books of legal, ethical and historical writings of the ancient rabbis. It was edited five centruies after the brith of Jesus. It is a compenduim of Law and Lore. It is the legal code which forms the Basis of Jewish Religious Law , and it is the Textbook used in the training of Rabbis.”

    From the Talmud

    Baba Mezia, 114b “The Jews are called human beings, but the non-Jews are not humans. They are beasts.”
    Jalkut Rubeni gadol 12b: “The souls of non-Jews come from impure spirits and are called pigs.”
    Hadarine, 20, B; Schulchan 9ruch, Choszen Hamiszpat 348. “A Jew may do to a non-Jewess what he can do. He may treat her as he treats a piece of meat.”

    Babha Bathra (54 b): “All things pertaining to the Goim are like a desert; the first person to come along and take them can claim them for his own.”

    Midrasch Talpioth, p 225, Warsaw 1855: “Even though God created the non-Jew they are still Animals in human form. It is not becoming of a Jew to be served by an animal. Therefore he will be served by animals in human form.”
    Schene luchoth haberuth, p 250b: “Although the non-Jew has the same body structure as the Jew, they compare with the Jew as a monkey to a human.”

    That is just some of the things said about non-jews in the Talmud

    Anyway; I am an equal oppurtunity hater of religions…I also abhor xtinaity and islam, barely tolerate budhism and taoism

    Science is the only sure religion, and one day our descendants will look back on us and laugh at how foolish we all were like we do to the people who once thought spirits caused the thunder

  14. dave says

    I’d like to know where you found these citations so I can see them for myself. As you say, the Talmud is not holy scripture, it consists of commentaries on scripture and lore. Your historical facts about the Talmud are a bit off – see
    Are you a Talmud student? Do you completely trust these disgusting statements as being genuine? I really want to see if you are correct – so many lies have been promulgated about Jews as fact (i.e. the Blood Libel, and The Elders of Zion), and these sound like more of the same.

  15. jimmyboyo says

    Dave my fellow gay brother and more than likely a very nice jewish boy

    This topic started due to my fellow gay brothers who happen to be jewish in this thread thanking that they were jewish and I saying don’t get too proud of that…because judaism has its own foul people like the above mentioned hypocrites in the catholic church.

    I in no way claim that reform or even conservative jews hold to such teachings or abhor gay people. My condemnation is of ORTHEDOX judaism which many jews in Israel rightfuly and regularly condemn…American jews due to many centuries of pogroms rarely condemn orthedox judaism outside of the borders of Israel in front of non-jews. I can understand such a mind set….centuries of fear of pogroms and wanting to provide a united front in the face of potential enemies. History shows that a pogrom could occur in the future even here in america and a united front is a great defense against such, but understanding such does not mean orthedox judaism should not be condemned just like fundimentalist xtianity and islam (all 3 are barbaric).

    I recomend that you go to your local rabbi and ask them about the verses I sited. I gave ample information for you to find said verses with the help of a local rabbi.

    You are correct in saying the Talmud is NOT holy writ, but it is something that heavily heavily heavily influences ORTHEDOX jews.

    I in no way claim that reform or conservative jews do look down upon non jews. Orthedox jews DO, heck Orthedox jews look down upon you for not being Orthedox and wouldn’t want to openly shake your hand due to your being a homosexual without them having a ritual bath nearby. I challenge you to walk up to an orthedox jew as a jew yourself and let them know you are gay and put your hand out in greeting and see what happens. I will bet you my house that they will more than likely roll their eyes and turn away if not outright spit upon your hand.

    Fundamentalism in religion is abhorent wether jew, xtian, or muslim. All fundi religions inherently are anti the outsider, the non believer, the non-member of the group. From that perspective I understand why ancient rabbis wrote such in the talmud writings, why xtians said the same things basicaly about jews, and muslims said the same about jews and xtians. BUT understanding the perspective of such does not condone such, especialy when fundimentalists = orthedox jews embrace such.

  16. jimmyboyo says


    I admit hating all RELIGIONS. I do not in anyway single out judaism for condemnation. I abhor xtianity (the word christ is greek and means lord which if I used it to refer to them would automatically admit that yes their fairytale is lord thus the X) the most and islam and judaism around 2nd place equally.
    I also abhor hindusim, budhism, taoism though I abhor them the least only because I am not confronted with them every day like the top 3 here in the west.

    The world would be a much happier place if NO religions existed. Less war, less separation, less everything bad.

    I find it laughable, and many of my x jewish boyfriends would as well that you might think I am coming at this from an ant-semitic stance. (funny thing anti-semite also covers arabs since they to are semites but that is another subject all together). I do understand though how you might jump to such a conclusion. modern history perpetuates a “victim” mentality within the jewish people which makes one inherently defensive. RIGHTLY so with all the pogroms that have occurred and the fear of future pogroms. BUT it does close one off to serious debate and critic. Serious debate and critic will not make you less of a jew nor cause a pogrom and the storm troopers to come pounding on your door. Heck, with the way the world is today the storm troopers will be knocking on both of our doors because of our gayness and the orthedox jews, fundi xtians, and fundi mulsims would applaud as both you and I were marched off to a camp.

    You might think your identity as a gay man is 2nd to your identity as a jew, but to orthedox jews your identity as a gay man is 1st and foremost which does provide you a wonderful opportunity to critic your heritage. In critiquing it one can learn truth and gain strength. I would also recommend this of any of my gay irish catholic friends etc.

    Why modern gays feel that they must bow to and make excuses for the foolishness of judaism, xtianity, and even islam is beyond me. This need within the gay community to feel accepted by these outdate barbaric fairytales is mind blowing.

    All religions will end up as dust under the wheels of history…and speed the day I say.

    peace be with you

  17. mark m says


    I sometimes call myself a hybrid because I often feel like I have one foot in two different camps on the subject of religion vs. science. I support the “meaning” of what Christ lived and died for, therefore I am a Christian. However, I also believe in the Big Bang and Evolution.

    I was raised Southern Baptist, so there’s some baggage there, though mostly ejected baggage. I also missed my calling as a paleontologist and biologist. I was always good at art, yet the other subjects I aced in college were science courses.

    I identify with my gay brothers on this site who still have religious convictions, because I do too.

    I also can understand the point of view of my atheist gay brothers here too. As a lover of all things science, I can see where there is little proof of a God.

    I just know that spirituality is never about proof. It’s about experience and emotion. And I have had some powerful, personal spiritual experiences dealing with my sexuality that strengthened my belief in God.

    I’m with you on organized religion. I think most of them are so full of holes as to be laughable. But religion is man’s attempt to understand God, so there would be inconsistencies. We’re flawed creatures.

    But just something to think about: Religion gives hope to people who live in conditions you and I do not and therefore, we can take our comfortable lives for granted.

    Some people live with death and starvation and the simple human drive to cope leads them to religion, not science.

    In a perfect world, science would be used to ensure that these people did not need to suffer from hunger, famine, and disease. But in the meantime, for many hopeless people, faith is all they have.

    Also, my husband said something once that gave me pause. He said “If you think the world is a bad place because of religion, think about all of those people who are actually kept in line by religion and what they would be capable of without a fear of God?”

    It’s something to think about.

  18. soulbrotha says

    Very well said Mark M. I agree with you 100%. I was stuck in a Christian cult for 10 years. Needless to say, I no longer believe in “religion”. That comes from the machinations of men. But I do believe in spirituality and a “greater being”. Call him what you want; God, Jehovah, Buddah, Ralph, Shirley, whatever. All I know is that all my life I have had powerful spiritual experiences that science cannot explain away. There are too many unexplainable things in this world for it to be totally scientific. Now, you may believe that it’s just a matter of time before it is scientifically explained and that is your prerogative, but I sure don’t believe that.

  19. soulbrotha says

    And by the way, could the pope get anymore “friend of Dorothy” with those ruby slippers? As a matter of fact, I’m seeing alot of Oz imagery in that photo! The Wizard, the Witch, the trio going down the yellow brick road, the ruby slippers. Damn, somebody cue the music already!
    “We’reeeeeeeee off to see the Wizarrrrrd……”

  20. soulbrotha says

    Wow the comparisons to Oz just keep coming. Here are a few more:
    Heartlessness, Brainlessness, Cowardice, Powerful figurehead who shams the people into his control.

  21. Ter says

    First time for this. I have a saying on the matter of God & Rel. “God is not Religion & Religion is not GOD”. I believe this would be good to remember when one enters into “I Hate Rel. etc” On hate & rel. I know a lot about that but I find that hate just eats the person up who hates & turns the person into nothing less then the person they hate or at leasts binds them to that person or what ever. To Love, forgive forget & move on is freeing and allows one to make changes for the good for your self & the situation in wich you found your self being so hurt that hate was the response. As Jesus said pour love upon them rather then hot coals & they will cange.
    In my own life Rel played a very big role but being gay was much bigger. So the choice seemed to have to be made. God or ME. So I chose Me. But one day I was having a coffee at a Univ. caf. & low & behold “God came & had a coffee with me” (I never did know if he or she takes their coffee straight up or sugre & or cream) AnyWay the event was so powerful that it was rather unsettleing to say the least. I was consumed in eteral infinate all pervasive all consuming love. Something I really can’t explain because this love is beyond any human conception of the term & could never even under drugs be duplicated. It was as if i were in an eternal sea of unconditional love that would put all of the love ever expressed in humanity by all peoples as only a very finite molecular drop to this eternal sea of love.
    I knew instantly that I was before god. Like Moses on the Mt. or Jesus & the Transfiguration or the guys in the cloud etc. He stayed & I stayed & lay in his arms then I became overwelmed by the fact that I just couldn’t handle this Love, It was just so much I just couldn’t handle it. So I beged Him to leave me for I knew I would die. I kept begging & he kept staying & then he left me & oh how bereft I was then. Left in the world naked & alone. I fled the campus & took a taxie (Students don’t do that a lot where I come from) & I want to a gay friends to seek shelter. He let me into his app. & then went back to work. He recognized that something was wrong but I could hardly speak but told him “I can’t tell you now but maybe some day”. I stood in that room for 2 to 3 hr never moving an inch. Just standing transfixed & bewildered, confused, elated, frightened, with Eurica screaming in my heart. God Is Love & God Loves Me his Gay Child!. OH MY GOD! Only after those hrs. could I leave the room & resume my life in the world but I was forever changed. That event took place around 1978 & it not Rel has lit the path of my life till now.
    Yes I understand hate & rel. & all of that but we gay people must not become what the other is. No we must be who we are CHILDREN OF THE LIVING GOD WHO LOVES US UNCONDITIONALY! If we do this we put aside hate & all that negative death stuff & take on the mantle of love freely offered freely given & then we are free & we can face the hate of Rel & people & walk on changing their lives & the lives of millions.
    Before we can free others we must be free & the only way that can happen is to LOVE those who hate us & move on with the Love that is GOD!
    Please excuse me for going on too much I suppose. I respect all your view but I wanted to tell you about my coffee with God. Love & be Love & it that we are free!

  22. ter says

    Please excuse the spelling etc. next time preview would be a wise move.
    Hope you have a coffee with a good friend & enjoy their love for you & you for them. Maybe God is before you? GREAT! I thought so!

  23. ter says

    Its 28 or so yrs from them & a lot of water has gone under the bridge such a love, love lost, death, rel lost, shadow, dardness then the Sun. So he is a little piece I put together as I sat by a river close to home. It really has everything to do with all that I have shared with you. It is really back at the caf. having coffee with God! Try this on & see how it fits!
    Reflections at the River: Written by me Ter this 13th day of May 2005-Canada– The Bridge.

    Man is conceived in the river of life & life enters into man.
    Man takes form in the sea,
    Man is thrust painfully from the sea into a foreign world of air & stone; time & space.
    Man struggles to find himself in this foreign land & stands.
    Man seeks to know him self through many a path yet is alone.
    He is drawn to the river where he finds a link to his being,
    There he drinks in life, frolics & plays but is not yet at peace,
    He removes his shoes & socks & places his feet in the cool waters,
    He senses relief from the journey but when he looks down he sees the water swirling around his feet;
    He still must face the fact that he is yet not united to the water but remains an outsider.
    If he were to stay there his feet would decay & his bones would fall away,
    Man is distressed, despite his closeness to his mother,
    He remains separated from her life.
    Then later on, as he tires of the journey in the Land of rock & air he goes back to the river,
    But this time, as he places his naked feet in the water he removes his cloths.
    As he strips himself of his ego, pride & selfishness etc.,
    He sees his feet slowly disappearing before him; yet he can still wiggle his toes & sand upon his feet.
    Naked he stands erect & begins to walk into the river & as he does his body begins to disappear.
    As his feet, then his knees, then groin, then stomach, then chest then arms & shoulders.
    He stops at his neck & asks :If I proceed will I cease to exist?”
    He determines in faith to proceed on into the river of life,
    His chin is gone, his mouth is gone, his eyes are gone, his forehead & skull are gone;
    He is utterly immersed in the sea; there is nothing left of himself yet he can see & hear & speak & touch & swim & walk & think of himself as he is one in the waters of Love.
    He is Free in the sea & the sea is free in him.
    Perfect unity in harmony.
    His nature is now once again one with his being.
    He frolics in the immensity of this sea of life & Love.
    All creatures in the sea flow through him as he through them.
    He sees from eternity to eternity without limit.
    He knows himself as he was& is & will ever be.
    There is no time & space, no wall nor foreign will.
    Though his body that was, is no more, yet it is in perfect shape & form consumed in & apart of infinite flowing Love.
    Love all consuming, expanding ceaselessly beyond eternity, never to be diminished,
    Man begins to go back to the shore to where he had entered the river seeking his life.
    His cloths, on the shore of space & time, still waiting for him to return as of old.
    But though he sees them he no longer desired such remnants.
    His nakedness suffices as his raiment.
    He starts to immerge from the sea & discovers his new being transformed remains unaltered.
    Though he can’t see his limns & body he can still walk & talk & act in thought & deed.
    The world once foreign to him as air & stone, space & time, is now no different then the eternal. Sea of love from which he came & in which he still journeys in.
    All is now one with man in the world.
    He now walks among the plants, animals & man in perfect harmony.
    Now the task is clear for the man from the sea,
    To bring his fellow men down to the river,
    To strip naked & enter into the sea,
    Thus bringing all men to their ultimate goal in being who they are,
    Love Eternally Incarnate
    (G-D Children) In the Sea of Infinite Love (G-D).

  24. says

    as witness to jesus and his family , in medugorje 1994 , all that your saying could be very true , part of my supernatural was having spiritual feelings , out of my control , and having the sacred heart fire of jesus burning in my chest ? the white dove flying into my body and many many experiences , finally ending up chained to a bed in a bombed hospital in mostar , 20 miles from medugorje , what is happening presently in our world reminds me of all this ? jesus is coming soon…even in my lifetime ?

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