It is a slick operation, whoever is behind it.

Pre-ordered from Amazon, the copy of Frederic Martel’s book, ‘In the Closet of the Vatican’, dropped through my letter box on the very morning that Pope Francis inaugurated the conference in Rome called to address the abuse crisis. It is a thick volume (I am a third-way through), but some things are already evident.

The first is that Martel is a loquacious bore, who is irritatingly shy of hard facts; but conversely strong on innuendo and cod Freud. His thesis, set out in all seriousness, is that those who most oppose homosexuality are those most guilty of it. Francis’s most vocal opponents, it seems, are all closet queers, trying desperately to cover-up their proclivities. Their penchant for lace gives the game away.

 Hardly more sophisticated than gay bar gossip, a book intended as the ‘bombshell’ to shatter Francis’s strategy needs something more substantial than this.

Will the book undermine the conference, and efforts to stamp out abuse? Will it damage Francis? In the first case, probably not. In the case of Francis himself, since it offers further evidence of less than ‘zero tolerance’ on the Pope’s part in the matter of McCarrick, almost certainly. But even about that we knew already.  

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