A French priest who worked to “cure” young seminary students of their homosexuality has been accused of having sexual relations with a number of the men in his care.
Monsignor Tony Anatrella, a consultant with the Vatican on issues of sexuality, routinely counseled novices sent to him by seminaries and monasteries across France. But at least four men claim Anatrella engaged in sexual acts with them during sessions in his office in Paris.
Anatrella reportedly claimed having sex with them would cure the men of their “pseudo-homosexuality.”
“You’re not gay, you just think that you are,” he reportedly told Daniel Lamarca, who was a 23-year-old seminarian when he first went to Anatrella in 1987.
“I know details about Anatrella’s body that could only be known to someone who has seen him naked,” Lamarca told the Dutch paper Nederlands Dagblad.
In 2001 he reported Anatrella to the archbishop of Paris but nothing was done. Five years later, after Lamarca went to the media and more victims surfaced, church officials expressed support for Anatrella and said the accusers were part of a “gay lobby” out to discredit the Church.
Several weeks ago, another victim came forward to say he had been counseled by Antrella for 14 years, during which he and the Monsignor engaged in mutual masturbation.
The Archdiocese of Paris acknowledges it had been notified by a priest about another man accusing Anatrella of sexual misconduct, but says because the complaint comes from an anonymous third-party statement it cannot pursue the matter. “The cardinal asked the priest to encourage the accusers to make personal contact and lodge a formal complaint.”
Anyone who has been a victim of sexual aggression “will be received and listened to, counseled on what to do next, and urged to file a complaint with the judicial authorities,” the Archdiocese claimed.
In addition to “counseling” homosexuals, Anatrella was instrumental in helping Pope Benedict keep them out of the priesthood. He wrote in the Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano that gay men are “narcissists” and “[homosexuality] is like an incompleteness and a profound immaturity of human sexuality.”
He claimed much of the sex abuse that has plagued the Church came from gay men who could not remain celibate. Unbelievably, he reportedly also told bishops that they are not obligated to report suspected abuse to authorities, even in countries where it’s required by law.
Anatrella was a “Collaborator of the Special Secretary” at last year’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family, at which church leaders discussed issues affecting family life, including the place of LGBT Catholics in the church.
While many hoped the Church would come out of the synod with a conciliatory stance, the final statement condemned same-sex unions as “not even remotely analogous” to heterosexual marriage.