• ‘In the Closet of the Vatican’ claims homophobic priests most likely to be gay
  • 570-page expose to be released next week as Pope holds sex abuse summit
  • Author Frederic Martel said book exposes double life of some senior clerics
  • Found some had discreet relationships with men, while others used prostitutes  

Eighty per cent of Vatican priests are gay and living in the closet, according to an explosive new book to be published next week.

The 570-page expose, titled In the Closet of the Vatican, claims that four in five clerics in the Roman Catholic Church are homosexuals – but aren’t necessarily sexually active.

French sociologist and journalist Frederic Martel, who spent four years conducting 1,500 interviews for the book, found that some priests maintained discreet long term relationships, while others lived double lives having casual sex with gay partners and using male prostitutes.

He found that a number of clerics spoke of an unspoken code of the ‘closet’, with one rule of thumb being that the more homophobic they were, the more likely they were gay.

The author, a former adviser to the French government, claims the late Alfonso López Trujillo – a Colombian cardinal who held senior roles in the Vatican – was an arch-defender of the church’s teaching on homosexuality and contraception while using male prostitutes, according to Catholic website the Tablet.

The book is a ‘startling account of corruption and hypocrisy at the heart of the Vatican’, according to British publisher Bloomsbury.

In its marketing material, Bloomsbury claims the book ‘reveals secrets’ about celibacy, misogyny and plots against Pope Francis.

But critics of the book said ‘it is not always easy to tell when Martel is trafficking in fact, rumour, eyewitness accounts or hearsay,’ according to the Tablet.