It is no secret that the Vatican has been sweeping the issue of pedophilia under the rug for many years. As many of my readers know, I provide a vivid, albeit fictional, account of the Church’s ‘conspiracy of silence’ in my recent clergy abuse legal thriller, “Betrayal of Faith.” But, fact can often mirror fiction- in 2014, the UN issued a scathing report, blasting the Vatican for protecting pedophiles.
On the heels of Cardinal George Pell being charged with child sex abuse, another scandal has been uncovered in Rome.
According to reports, Vatican police raided an apartment owned by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and discovered that a drug-fueled homosexual orgy was taking place. The CDF is the branch that reviews appeals from clergy found guilty of sexual abuse of minors.
Police became suspicious after neighbors (all high prelates of the Church) in the building complained repeatedly about “a steady stream of young men” and loud parties during all hours of the night. Msgr. Luigi Capozzi, secretary to Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, one of Pope Francis’ key advisors, was arrested in the raid. At the time, Capozzi was allegedly so high on cocaine that he was hospitalized for detoxification. Prior to the raid, Capozzi was slated to become a bishop at Cardinal Coccopalmerio’s recommendation.
There are several unexplained facts about the scandal:
- Reports state that the middle-of-the-night raid happened nearly two months prior, yet not a word was said by Vatican officials. The Italian media broke the story last week after receiving inside information.
- Msgr. Capozzi had an apartment that is officially for use by top officials of the Roman Curia. According to an Italian newspaper, the Monsieur also had access to a car with Vatican plates. Those plates made him virtually exempt from searches by the Italian police; could the vehicle have facilitated the transportation of illegal drugs?
- Despite Capozzi’s arrest months ago, he is still listed as an active staff member on the website of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legal Texts.
- After being released from the hospital, Capozzi was taken to an undisclosed monastery outside Rome for a spiritual retreat.
- There is speculation that Cardinal Coccopalmerio knew about the orgies and did nothing about them.
Some reports state the late-night activities had been going on as far back as the Lenten season (March 1 – April 13, 2017). Given a “zero tolerance” policy by the Vatican, what took so long for the Vatican police to take action? Here is a priest who appears to be a hard drug user, and there has been no statement whatsoever by the Vatican condemning this behavior. Does non-disclosure suggest another cover-up? Were there other members, potential top church officials, involved with “Cocaine” Capozzi? Are they being protected by the Vatican, and if so, why?
When Pope Francis came to lead the Catholic Church, he promised to be more serious than his predecessors about rooting out sex abusers and demanding accountability. He said he would “create a more inclusive church and clean up an ossified Vatican.” While reports state that when the news of Capozzi reached Pope Francis, he became “enraged,” is the Pope moving too slowly in acting on his promises?
Have cover-ups within the church become the norm? Necessary change can only come from within the Church. Church officials can foster change by developing a better relationship with truth, transparency and aggressive action when dealing with these issues. Pope Francis has miles to go if he is to begin the process of fulfilling the promises he made to rid the church of the clergy abuse scandal once and for all. If this latest event serves any purpose, one must hope and pray that the negative publicity will motivate swift and decisive action in the future.
We will continue to watch and report.