Thursday, May 5, 2016

French Media Report Allegations That Vatican "Expert on Homosexuality" Monsignor Tony Anatrella Sexually Abused a Minor Undergoing "Reparative" Therapy

I have seen no reports about this story in English-language media. I thought I would share it with you since 1) we've previously discussed the role played by Monsignor Tony Anatrella, a Vatican "expert on homosexuality," at the Synod on the Family and in a recent controversy about a Vatican document instructing new bishops that they need not report allegations of sexual abuse by clergy to criminal authorities; and 2) some readers of this blog may not read French and so may otherwise miss this report. A French-speaking friend of mine on Facebook has shared this news link with me.

The first two links above will provide background to the current story. As material discussed at those two links indicates, when news broke this past February that the Vatican was apparently informing new bishops that they need not report allegations of sexual abuse of minors by priests to criminal officials, it was also reported that the Vatican was relying on a training manual produced by Monsignor Tony Anatrella, a French priest-psychotherapist touted by the Vatican as its "expert on homosexuality." Anatrella has a history of characterizing homosexuality as a psychological disorder that can be "cured" through reparative therapy.

He himself specializes in such therapy. Due to his retrogressive, scientifically ill-informed views on homosexuality, LGBTQ Catholic leaders objected to his invitation to the Synod on the Family, where he played a role in advising the synod attendees about homosexuality and "gender theory," another of his bugbears.

And now it's being reported in the French media (third news link above) that a France 3 journalist, Sylvie Cozzolino, has been provided with testimony of a lay Catholic in France who states that he was sent as a minor to Anatrella to be "cured" of homosexuality, and that, in the context of "curing" him, Anatrella sexually molested him, explaining that the "cure" for homosexuality is "corporal" and requires sexual touching. 

The report linked above states that two other victims have come forward and are prepared to file affidavits making similar allegations. It also says that witnesses are stating that the archbishop of Paris, André Vingt-Trois, was informed of Anatrella's sexual violation of minors entrusted to him for "therapy," and brushed off the allegations, stating that any kind of inquiry into such affairs takes time.

You may recall that when France experienced upheavals and violence as the French government enacted marriage equality, Cardinal Vingt-Trois unhelpfully egged the violence on with insinuations akin to those of Cardinal Ratzinger in his infamous 1986 "pastoral" statement about the "care" of homosexuals, in which Ratzinger appeared to say that, while anti-gay violence is deplorable, what can you expect except a violent reaction when people come out of the closet? 

Did I say recently, when right-wing Catholic activist and virulent Catholic homophobe Michael Voris revealed his gay past, that the conservative Catholic approach to the issue of homosexuality is, quite simply, sick (as is the right-wing evangelical and Mormon approach)? It's characterized by what Adrienne Rich called the unholy trinity of lies, secrets, and silence. It twists and distorts psyches, so that it becomes almost predictable, as stand-up comedians now routinely observe, that the louder and meaner a religious authority figure talks about those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, the more likely it becomes that he himself (women appear to be far less susceptible to this particular psychologcial illness) is dealing with those issues at a personal level.

And so enter the Vatican "expert on homosexuality" Msgr. Anatrella . . . .

The photo of Msgr. Tony Anatrella is by Peter Potrowl and has been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons for sharing online.

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