In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy; THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER (Hardcover)

In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy; THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER By Frederic Martel, Shaun Whiteside (Translated by) Cover Image

In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy; THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER (Hardcover)

By Frederic Martel, Shaun Whiteside (Translated by)


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The New York Times bestselling account of corruption and hypocrisy at the heart of the Vatican.

In the Closet of the Vatican exposes the rot at the heart of the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church today. This brilliant piece of investigative writing is based on four years’ authoritative research, including extensive interviews with those in power.

The celibacy of priests, the condemnation of the use of contraceptives, countless cases of sexual abuse, the resignation of Benedict XVI, misogyny among the clergy, the dramatic fall in Europe of the number of vocations to the priesthood, the plotting against Pope Francis – all these issues are clouded in mystery and secrecy.

In the Closet of the Vatican is a book that reveals these secrets and penetrates this enigma. It derives from a system founded on a clerical culture of secrecy which starts in junior seminaries and continues right up to the Vatican itself. It is based on the double lives of priests and on extreme homophobia. The resulting schizophrenia in the Church is hard to fathom. But the more a prelate is homophobic, the more likely it is that he is himself gay.

"Behind rigidity there is always something hidden, in many cases a double life." These are the words of Pope Francis himself and with them, the Pope has unlocked the Closet.

No one can claim to really understand the Catholic Church today until they have read this book. It reveals a truth that is extraordinary and disturbing.

Shaun Whiteside is a Northern Irish translator of French, Dutch, German, and Italian literature. He has translated many novels, including Manituana and Altai by Wu Ming, The Weekend by Bernhard Schlink, and Magdalene the Sinner by Lilian Faschinger, which won him the Schlegel-Tieck Prize for German Translation in 1997.

"[An] earth-shaking exposé of clerical corruption ... What Martel does, quite masterfully, is to connect the dots that reveal an ecclesial system in profound decay ... In the Closet of the Vatican examines in impressive detail the double lives led by many of the church's prelates ... Without question, [the book] is a truly remarkable publishing event." - National Catholic Reporter

"It’s a bewildering and vast piece of reporting ... The picture Martel draws is jaw-dropping ... I urge every Catholic to read it, however difficult that may be." - Andrew Sullivan, New York Magazine

"[T]he book is astonishing." - Associated Press

"This masterful and spine-chilling study of the sexual life in the Vatican is the most detailed exposé of sexual corruption in the heart of Catholic establishment. This is the first time somebody has succeeded in having access to priests’ sexual lives in the Vatican … Martel surely does not criticize homosexuality but what he is critical of is the hypocrisy around the sexual lives of the priests. This beautifully written and well-researched book would bring many adjectives to mind — revealing, explosive, shocking, stunning, chilling, sensational, and many more. It may not be easy to read it for a believer but everybody must read this astonishing piece of investigative journalism." - Washington Book Review

"Stunned may be a much-overused word, but it's the best one I know to describe my wonderment at the dimensions of what has come into view […] All this builds up to the realisation that you are seeing something which, once seen cannot be unseen. By anyone who has seen it. Once it is seen, it is known as a fact about the Church's institutional working that cannot be got around. To pretend otherwise is a sign of delusion." - James Alison,

"A truly shocking theory about the Vatican; the largest gay community in the world" - Il Giornale [Italy]

"Probably one of the best books by a journalist ever written" - Gazeta Wyborcza [Poland]

"Martel’s conversational style is that of the raconteur […] he tells a captivating story" - Catholic Herald

"A glimpse of the poisonous world that Frédéric Martel, himself gay, has spent five years researching for this book" - Andrew Brown, Guardian

"An important revelation" - Daily Telegraph

"Sensational … this is much, much more than an expose of some taffeta-clad hypocrites…fascinating" - Sunday Times

"Explosive … Pope Francis seems to be … determined to reform the Vatican … If Martel’s book proves anything, it is that this is now seriously overdue … It would be a mistake to rubbish this book … [Martel is] a highly intelligent and honest journalist and the Church will need courage to respond to his revelations fruitfully" - The Tablet