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Vatican Hit By Gay Sex Scandal

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The Vatican has been thrown into chaos by reports that one of the Pope's ceremonial ushers, as well as a member of the elite Vatican choir, were involved in a homosexual prostitution ring.

The allegations came to light after Italian newspapers published transcripts of phone calls recorded by police, who had been conducting an unrelated corruption investigation.

The tapes appear to record Angelo Balducci, a Gentleman of His Holiness, negotiating with Thomas Chinedu Ehiem, a 29-year-old Nigerian Vatican chorister, about men he wanted brought to him for sexual purposes. Balducci was allegedly paying 2,000 euros ($2,714) for each man he met, according to the Irish Times.

Balducci is recorded describing precise physical details of the men he wanted. The transcripts record that during five months in 2008, Ehiem procured for Balducci at least 10 contacts with, among others, "two black Cuban lads," a former male model from Naples, and a rugby player from Rome.

A report by the Italian Carabinieri on the case said: "In order to organize casual encounters of a sexual nature, he availed himself of the intercession of two individuals who, it is maintained, may form part of an organized network, especially active in [Rome], of exploiters or at least facilitators of male prostitution."

The police probe into corruption resulted in Balducci and 4 others being arrested. Allegations of prostitution were only revealed later, and have resulted in Ehiem's dismissal from the Vatican choir.

Balducci held a high position within the Vatican and carried the coffin of Pope John Paul at his 2005 funeral. He has now lost his position as a Gentleman of the Holiness. His trial for corruption is still pending.

The Catholic Church has weathered a storm of controversy in recent years over allegations of sexual abuse by its members. Whilst homosexuality is not outright condemned within the Church, it is taught that homosexual acts are "are intrinsically disordered."

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