This week Italian current affairs magazine Panorama ran an expose on a 'scandal' involving two gay Italian priests and one French priest.
Panorama claims the French priest 'celebrated Mass in the morning before driving two male escorts he hired to attend a party the night before to the airport.'
So far, so self-deluded. Closet-cases, like the poor, are always with us.
The story was printed in Panorama, the conservative weekly news magazine owned by Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister.
As others have noted, Berlusconi may have an axe to grind, since his own romps with half dressed women half his age were loudly criticized by the Church.
Many critics suggest that Berlusconi's target isn't gay priests, it's really the man in the red shoes, since the Vatican knows all about its gay priests and had no intention of addressing the thorny issue until Panorma forced them to.
So why is this a story? Because for centuries the Church has used homosexuality to gain traction into everyone's sex lives (gay and straight); and Berlusconi, critics say, is using homosexuality to gain traction over the Church.
These deadly games are played right over the heads of the little people, the gay men that both players condemn. Gay people are just pawns in a much bigger conflict. The real prize is gaining wider influence and scalping your powerful enemy.
Of course they'd never say that, because there's no need.
I have no sympathy for gay priests, in fact I hold them in contempt. They're gay men who oppress other gay men whilst privately practicing what they publicly preach against. There's no shortage of such people, unfortunately.
You can see why they're tempted, too. Homosexual priests want all of the perks of that supremely powerful international men's club, the Catholic Church - and none of the consequences.
Evangelicals like Ted Haggard know all about it, so do quack psychologists like George Rekers. Sooner or later they're all hoisted on the own petards.
The closet breeds pathology, it's undeniable now. Gay men who can't or won't admit the most basic truth of their own existence can be a substantial threat to others as much as themselves. Worse, their hypocrisy makes them vulnerable to scandal, blackmail and coercion.
The surprisingly high numbers of gay priests in the Church highlight an aspect of Catholicism that in our age may have become its defining characteristic: 'omerta,' the official code of silence, as prevalent in the Church these days as it is in the Mafia.
The rules are simple: you must publicly say one thing in order to privately do something else, and whatever you say, say nothing - and for God's sake, don't get caught.
The truth is we'll have to prise homophobia from the Church's cold dead hands, and the same is true for every other venal conservative politician with a grudge. As a weapon it's just too politically useful to both parties.
Meanwhile, Panorama ran this story with a homophobic cover picture that says it all: pink fingernail polish on hands clutching rosary beads. Pink for pansies.
Public antagonism toward gay people is politically useful, just ask the Constitutional Amendment seeking George Bush, the score-settling Berlusconi or the look-the-other-way when it's wiser Benedict.
It won't stop until the majority of straight people figure out that their prejudices are being manipulated for someone else's gain.