On this day April 4: Pope Paul VI

paul vi april 4

Pope Paul VI stood on the famous Vatican balcony on April 4, 1976, and told the 20,000 pilgrims assembled in St Peter’s Square that he was not gay.

Well, he didn’t use those exact words. He described allegations in a magazine article accusing him of homosexuality as ‘horrible and slanderous insinuations’.

Gay French author Roger Peyrefitte repeated a previous allegation in a 3,000-word article in Italy’s Tempo Magazine.

“I said in my last book, with all due respect to a Pope, especially a living one, that he was a homosexual.”

Italian police previously seized copies of the author’s St Peter’s Keys on the ground that it abused religion. A 1929 concordat between Italy and the Vatican granted the Pope special protection against libel.

In 1976, the police again relied on the concordat to justify confiscating copies of Tempo containing the Peyrefitte article.

So, Paul VI addressed the crowd in St Peter’s Square and asked them to pray for him.

“We know that our cardinal vicar and the Italian bishops’ conference have urged you to pray for our humble person, who has been made the target of scorn and horrible and slanderous insinuations by a certain press lacking dutiful regard for honesty and truth.”

Stop it or you’ll go blind

Roger Peyrefitte’s accusations were a response to the church’s Persona Humana: Declaration on Certain Questions concerning Sexual Ethics. The declaration reaffirmed that the church regarded sex outside marriage, homosexual activity, and masturbation as sinful.

As though they ever let anyone forget!

The pope was a hypocrite, said Peyrefitte. He alluded to rumours that Paul VI, one of the strictest and most conservative popes, nevertheless enjoyed a longtime sexual relationship with actor Paolo Carlini.

While many dismissed Peyrefitte as a rumour-monger, in 1994, a former Vatican honour chamberlain and correspondent for the Vatican newspaper alleged that Paul VI was targetted by blackmailers during his pontificate. In 2006, police commander General Giorgio Manes released his private papers from the time. They confirmed that Paul VI sought the assistance of then Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro to deal with the blackmailers.

Despite widespread acknowledgement of the old hypocrite’s homosexuality, a gaggle consistory of cardinals announced his election to sainthood in 2018.

Nellie Small, April 3 <— On this day —> April 5

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