The Vatican has suspended a priest in the Holy See who acknowledged homosexual relations in a supposedly anonymous television interview with a black dot over his face, but was identified by superiors from background shots of his office, says Reuters.

In a news report, local media identified him as a senior figure in a Vatican department which oversees matters relating to priesthood. The priest appeared on a TV documentary with three other clerics, all with their faces and voices distorted to protect their identities, to talk about their homosexuality.

The priest was guaranteed anonymity for the interview except those brilliant media folks did the interview in the priest’s office. During the interview his office in the Vatican was clearly visible in the background, leading senior clerics to discover his true identity. Duh!

The priest, of course, said in the interview that he “did not feel in sin” for being gay. What about the VOW of celibacy? You have to love the terminlogy. “Did not feel in sin.” Feeling you’ve sinned is different from knowing you’ve sinned. I can rationalize anything into feeling I was right. I’m very good at it. But inside, I still KNOW that I sinned. To this priest, he is not sinning because he’s attempting to do good. He’s just redefined sin.

The priest said he preferred anonymity “to avoid being reprimanded by my superiors, given the current firm position of Catholic doctrine regarding priestly celibacy and homosexuality.”

How brave! The thing that disturbs me most is not that this priest sinned. All do. They’re human. But he was willing to go on television and essenntially single-handedly renounce Church teaching with little fear of repercussion. How comfortable must he have felt to agree to this interview? Sure he did that black dot thing over the face but he was interviewed in his office. Hubris. It worries me about the culture of the priesthood, even in the Vatican.

Update: The priest who was suspended after being caught on hidden camera making advances to a young man says he is not gay and was only pretending to be gay as part of his work.

In an interview published Sunday, Monsignor Tommaso Stenico told La Repubblica daily he frequented online gay chat rooms and met with gay men as part of his work as a psychoanalyst. He said that he pretended to be gay in order to gather information about “those who damage the image of the Church with homosexual activity.”

This story might just keep getting odder and odder. I’ll keep you updated…