• In the Closet of the Vatican

  • Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy
  • By: Frederic Martel
  • Narrated by: John Banks
  • Length: 22 hrs and 19 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (158 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
In the Closet of the Vatican  By  cover art

In the Closet of the Vatican

By: Frederic Martel
Narrated by: John Banks
Try for $0.00

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $32.71

Buy for $32.71

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

In the Closet of the Vatican is a fascinating description and evaluation of financial, sexual and political misconduct throughout the Catholic Church at a time when new revelations are being uncovered each and every week. This audiobook explores the underlying causes and includes interviews with numerous Cardinals and other individuals, some of whom cannot be named. 

Martel reveals financial scandals in the Vatican bank; political collusion with unsavoury regimes, including Castro’s Cuba and Pinochet’s Chile; sexual abuse and hypocrisy over homosexuality. In this explosive account, Martel goes to the heart of corruption in the Catholic Church and inside the Vatican itself.

Martel is a researcher and writer. He has a PhD in social sciences and four master's degrees in law, political science, philosophy, and social science (University La Sorbonne). He has been visiting scholar at Harvard University and taught at Sciences-Po Paris and at the HEC’s Business School MBA in Paris.

He is the author of nine books, including On Culture in America (Gallimard, 2006) and the best seller Mainstream: On the Global War on Culture and Medias (Flammarion, 2010, translated in 20 countries). He has had articles in Newsweek, the New Yorker and the New York Times.

©2019 Frederic Martel (P)2019 Audible Studios
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about In the Closet of the Vatican

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    103
  • 4 Stars
    22
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    12
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    100
  • 4 Stars
    19
  • 3 Stars
    13
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    3
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    91
  • 4 Stars
    24
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    10

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An engaging story of something not so secret!

First, the only drawback of this book is the amount of tangents and digressions. From the narrator to the interviewees, there are a lot of sequence breaks.

It may be a narration which turns to a quote. A quote that's reminiscing to a quote that they're making from someone else. That choppy flow with names (excellently pronounced) in multiple languages make this listen difficult to follow at times.

Aside from that, the book is amazing. It explains so much on how the Vatican came to be so gay. Why the contradictions with condemning homosexual acts but never punishing child molesters. It's complex and sad. And there's just so much. The absurdity to which some of these men exploited their power will have you yelling out loud.

But there are touching, humanizing points as well. The book is a emotional rollercoaster. I strongly recommend this book. Not because I'm gay or because I'm an atheist. But because it's a fascinating story about humans and their inner struggles.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Where was the editor?

Such a poorly edited book with whole long sections repeated and repeated. Also not particularly interested in know what the author ate in every restaurant. Expected something more factual and coherent.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Heartbreaking

This book was very well researched and if you finish it you will not be able to think of the Catholic Church the same way again. The author does a tremendous job shedding light on the Vaticans closet and it’s extreme hypocrisy. He diagnoses the problems in the Vatican from an insiders perspective. He had an unusual level of access to high ranking officials within the Holy See. He exposes rank corruption at the highest levels as well as the worst sins of Princes or “Queens” of the Church.

Sadly the author is a militant homosexual and this colors almost the entire book. Anyone who is to the right of him is an extremist or “far right”. He attempts to marginalize traditional Catholics and other Christians this way. He is a textbook bigot, in the classical sense. The sad thing is that he doesn’t see it. The sees the world through the lenses of his sexuality. He freely admits his ignorance of the Bible and for that matter the Christian faith. He idolizes sexuality and it prevents him from truly understanding the religion that built Western Civilization. He is self impoverished in the truest sense.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

one-sided account approved by the current regime

the book gives an account of homosexuality in the Vatican that suits the needs of the closet. Martel simultaneously claims that homosexuality has nothing to do with pedophilia in the Church, and that it is result of clergy having to live in the closet. The central thesis of the book is that homophobes in the Vatican are actually gay people covering for their own homosexuality is supported in a few cases, but the stretching of it to a tautology would require much more evidence than Martel provides. He states he does not want to "out" people, but systematically outs conservatives who are gay, giving cover to the progressives. All credibility is lost at the point where he exonerated Francis from culpability when he lashed-out at the accusers of the priests and bishops in Chile. Martel jumps the shark when he implies that this wasn't an error, but a necessary move to save the entire structure of the Church in Chile from collapsing. Even if those were the stakes, the action was not justified. He claims to be progressive, but attacks the powerful intellectual Robert Sarah in the most shameful of racial terms. Speaking of Sarah living in an earthen hut with witchcraft, and utterly dismissing this man's mind, was oddly reminiscent of Reagan's views on the Tanzanian UN contingent. It shows the condescension of French progressivism that is at it's heart. The French intellectual will share with you, as it is the "White Man's Burden" as long as you behave as you should, but if you politically oppose him he will turn every stereotype against you... it's because he never stopped believing them, but he found playing as if he rejected them politically useful. The book contains useful information in many parts, and I think he is correct about the Church in Cuba, and about the escorts. The lack of objective data calls conclusions into question, the one time in the book that he called-on quantitative data--counting priests on Grinder--he was disappointed with the low sum, and trumped this objective data with reports of hearsay that better supported his conclusions. This book was allowed to be written because it protected the current Papal regime's Power-brokers at every turn, while never failing to cast Benedict XVI in a wicked light. To this end, he claims that Benedict only laicized a few dozen priests--the data was out there before the publication of this book and rapidly showed up on a Google search that he rocked 260 in 2011 and 124 in 2012. Furthermore, the lists of de-frocked clergy in the US frequently bear the phrase "laicized by Pope Benedict XVI on xx/xx/20xx", many more were laicized by Pope JP2 after 2001 when Ratzinger asked JP2 to let him deal with it. In the simplest tasks of reporting data, Martel brazenly chooses propaganda over fact. it's no wonder this was released the day of the Vatican's child abuse conference, it dove-tailed with their insistence that the scandal had nothing to do with homosexuality. And, who, I may ask benefitted? I don't know, but don't look in the closet!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Interresting , to a point

This book could and should have been written with only half the pages ... It is 576 pages long, that's 22 hours of reading ! The author spends pages after pages giving details that are not always necessary but that are repetitive. Also you get lost in the endless list of names. You lose interest in his argument because it so long , it's a bit like when you are in a maze and you realise you've been there for too long and you get tired of it. The prologue however really impressed me : it is both illuminating and beautifully written. Some portraits he draws of some cardinals are also very striking, sometimes downright hilarious. But definetly not a book I will ever read again.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

"Houston, we have a problem."

As a socially conservative Democrat and a Roman Catholic I could have taken offense at the author's numerous accusations that anyone being anti-gay was automatically gay. Case in point being the numerous members of the Curia, from priest to Pope accused of being gay or assumed to be, Due to their "fake" social conservatism such as the Traditionalist Burke "the Cardinal queen." It is amazing how many members of the Curia were in fact, interviewed by this author. And even more amazing just how many of the Curia is thought to be gay or gay homophiles. It is as if the entire circle of men around the Popes (Pope Saint John XXIII to the Blessed Pope Paul VI to Pope Saint John Paul II to Pope Francis today) e.g. the entire cadre of responsible men around the Holy See and his Cardinals (and the Cardinals too) and their Bishops and priests (and the Bishops and priests too) have been nothing more than maniacal sex fiends addicted to plush surroundings and expensive accouterment. From the paintings on the office walls to the luxuriant carpets (all strewn about) to the equally luxuriant furniture. The author spent a great deal of time making the point that the Blessed Pope Paul VI was NOT gay. Why? Not until in the last paragraph of the book does the author admit being gay himself. I found this book to be self-serving on his part (in the sense that he thinks that he and everyone are gay). If clerics do not soon begin legal proceedings for libel and slander then one must assume we are reading the truth. The Roman Catholic Church is being led by degenerate homosexuals. I must say that the author is a very high-quality writer. The translator was of high-quality too. The performer was near perfect. The church lingo was perfectly brought to the ear. I must say, though, that the author is astonishingly cynical and sure of himself but well informed of history. How he obtained all the sensitive interviews remains to be seen. And the Curia was cleaned like a trout before frying. Its guts spilled out and all about. (I gave the story a two because it was gratuitous)

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

What we've always known is true …. Mystery Babylon

Jesus will judge this 'abomination' harshly! All the nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her immorality. The kings of the earth were immoral with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown wealthy from the extravagance of her luxury.” Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins or contract any of her plagues. For her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.…

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Very disappointing

Perhaps the author thought he was Voltaire but he comes across like a gossip queen gaily being a bitch about everyone he ever met in the Catholic Church. More real evidence for his grand Continental theses would have been appreciated.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

As a Catholic myself the book has real force.

The writing style of the book is a mix of academic work, methodic and involved, and yet it steps back from being only thing by a large amount of story telling and reports of a large number of interviews If one was asked is this book primarily a psychological reflection or a sociological one, then sociology gets the tick in its box. A number of times Martel is able to point to how the story of the individual is linked to the problem and issue a whole society experiences and is required to face as a result of the telling of that individual's story. Finally there is one idea Martel offers which is noteworthy. He points to the presence of both gay people and non-gays in the Vatican but does not then argue there are two lobbies, one gay and the other straight. He observes while there are gay individuals, group formation for them, the capacity to be a political block is not there because that sexual orientation or interest can't be socially acknowledged. There is the ability for a political movement that attacks gays to be formed, and it is there in the Vatican, and it is populated by many who are homophile. There is permission for this group formation and Martel gives time to explain how this faction operates. This book is socking for some, as a Catholic the news that some in the Vatican are gay is no surprise, however the goings on, the things said and done, that can be indeed unsettling. A book which can be recommended to those who are willing to be open to what it offers.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Gay agenda seeking in the end, but well researched

It is apparent in this book that Frederic Martel believes the Roman Catholic Church should abide by the postmodern standards of himself and many others. The Church, for example, should adopt a more open position toward queer, radically feminist, or liberation theologies and not be stuck in a past that, for Martel, would be riddled with errors. Martel is under the impression that teachings from the past are always in error because they are from the past and don't pass muster with his postmodern ideals. Martel doesn't realize that homosexual priests, religious, and laymen didn't sign up for a doctrine that accepts homosexual intercourse, but, for Martel, they should be allowed into dialogue with the Church in the end to change the Church's teaching on sexuality. Martel heavily criticizes popes prior to Francis who have asserted their authority in combatting the demoralizing sexual lapses of western culture since the past century. They were doing their job. Martel, as a journalist with postmodernist ideals, doesn't understand that the Church is not a democracy. Popes, bishops, and priests teach the faith as it is. The people, especially in the postmodern age, are given the choice to accept or reject the Gospel.
Like almost all journalists, Martel doesn't acknowledge the difference between the molestation of those too young to sexually respond (pedophilia) and the molestation of those barely old enough to sexually respond (ephebophilia). Martel liberally distributes the word pedophilia throughout his book when many cases in the Church dealt with an ephebophilia of a homosexual nature. This indicates the Church has an active homosexual problem more so than a pedophilia problem.
On the other hand, as popes, bishops, and priests teach the faith, they should live up to their standards, as Martel asserts, on what sexuality should be for Catholics. They haven't lived up to these standards, as Martel demonstrates. If not molesting young people themselves, clergy, especially in the episcopate, are covering up for clergy guilty of crimes. They preach against homosexual intercourse, encouraging homosexuals to live chaste lives, but their hypocrisy is blatant.
This is a discouraging work for faithful Catholics to read although they may not agree with Martel's commentary on the alleged facts. Martel exposes the active homosexuality in the Church and especially in the Vatican. It is a discouraging book as well for heterosexual men who wish to enter the priesthood. Heterosexual candidates for the priesthood may not experience active homosexuality in the seminary or amongst their priestly superiors whether they be in the faculty, administration, or at the home parish. But they will definitely come across a homophilia apparent throughout the clergy and the seminaries, as Martel aptly shows. I can attest to this as a former Roman Catholic seminarian.
I gave the book four out of five stars because I thought it was well-researched and well-written. It lacks one star due to the aggressive gay agenda for advocacy of doctrinal changes. Martel is a journalist with democratically journalistic ideals, but he is not a theologian.

2 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Brendan Corkery
  • Brendan Corkery
  • 07-19-19

A bad book

Given the splash the publication of this book briefly made in the news, I set out to listen to it, and did so with curiosity and an open mind. To say that this book is poorly written is as polite as I can manage. The author uses a rambling and prurient style, and attempts to support an unfocused thesis with innuendo and unsubstantiated statements. Historical facts are added seemingly to support his statements but are mostly unconnected to the issue being discussed and seem intended to distract and give the (false) impression of a weighty argument. Generalisation are frequent and betray the author’s bias and clear lack of true knowledge of religion in general and in particular.

The supposed witnesses often give the impression (unintentionally I assume) if being unreliable and questionable motivation. The stories lack convincing detail and seem to be told to give the author what he wants to hear. The author is clearly and openly biased and therefore an unreliable guide. The lack of critical thinking and assessment of his supposed facts is frustrating and speaks loudly of the poor quality of this book.

The author is self-obsessed to an extreme degree. I lost track of the amount of examples where his emotions or impressions on any given situation are taken as evidence of truth that we are expected to accept without question.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for caroline
  • caroline
  • 05-29-20

Brilliant if you understand the Catholic Church

If you don’t have a interest in catholic history and some knowledge of how it works this book isn’t for you
If on the other hand you do have that interest and knowledge then this book will blow your mind
It’s a little bit hard going at the start but bear with it and it becomes mind blowing
It’s well research and based in facts the Author is honest enough to tell you if he couldn’t back up what he was telling you with multiple first hand accounts
This book is a must listen to for anyone who is catholic has a Christian faith or just has an interest in these things and a little knowledge

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Sean Olson
  • Sean Olson
  • 05-17-19

Disaster

Ploughed through this time hoping to learn something. Did not. Much promised nothing new. It is badly written ,pompous and the narrator is dreadful. It is so bad that I Googled it to see if my mind was playing tricks. It’s not. Can’t believe Audible would put it out as a special. This book is dross by the yard, foot, meter or kilometer.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for ross
  • ross
  • 07-28-19

Couldn't have been any more detailed

In depth research on such a taboo area, incredibly written and performed. Thoroughly enjoyed all the way through

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 05-10-19

Generous, can't put down read

Well written, generous and thoroughly researched. Did well to unpack the drivers holding these closet doors closed.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mr. Jr Baker
  • Mr. Jr Baker
  • 05-26-19

Stunning indictment of Catholic Church

Amazing and disturbing. You will neverlook at the Catholic Church in the same way again. My one criticism is that it is too long and repetitive at times.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Spanish Teacher
  • Spanish Teacher
  • 04-24-19

Not great book

Most of the book is guesswork. The author has a bias against the Church. Not great to be honest.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Krzysztof Janczuk
  • Krzysztof Janczuk
  • 12-28-20

Part journalism part queer theories

It's interesting but could be more if the author was focused on the accusations (in the legal sense) of the Vatican throughout the whole book. Concisely it's good up the end of pontificate John Paul II. As a Polish I grew up during his pontificate (he was elected a year before I was born), and I remember that he was revered as an staunch fighter against communist regime, strong moral figure and wise man and I also remember that his last years as a Pope were very hard due to Parkinson's disease. The book didn't offer answers to key questions that mark the end of his pontificate (was he complicit, naive, unable to see or wilfully blind to the crimes Marcial Maciel and his Legion of Christ or shortcomings of Angelo Sodano). Was his fight against communist regime something that casted that big shadow that he wasn't able to see anything else or because he prioritises that task he didn't wanted to see or hear anything else or is there any other explanation. Long story short up to this point the book is good because it focuses on something that is real (as a book written in the investigative journalism manner should be). The other part of the book is to me queer insight to the Battle of Vatican or Great Gay War where gays who hate themselves (the rigid ones who hold power and want maintain status quo) fight perfumed ones (who loves themselves are very talented especially in arts but at the same time very petty, want to change the face of the Institution to something "beautiful" like Atlantis but with more sex and art). Examples: Benedict was passe because he might be gay but wasn't very showy about it, every crazy way of life as road to heaven (queer theology), gender theory in practice because of robes and that strange preoccupation with priests and their way of life with the accent that Christianity must be gay loving. The other part might be interesting from psychological perspective but didn't add journalistic value to the book.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Roseline Swain
  • Roseline Swain
  • 06-05-21

Superb!

I've just finished this and I'm going straight back to the start. Absolutely captivating. Beautifully read with an English voice that is a delight to listen to. This didn't shake my Catholic faith at all, I just found it sad and perplexing. Just brilliant.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Phillip
  • Phillip
  • 03-17-21

Eye opening - The Truth hurts !!!!

Brilliantly researched by Frederic Martel, great narration by John Banks, eye opening? religion is poisonous!!!!

1 person found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Rodney Wetherell
  • Rodney Wetherell
  • 05-14-19

Hair-raising account of hypocrisy in the Vatican

Though not a Catholic, I believed I knew something about the hypocrisy and corruption within the Vatican, just by reading about all the coverups of sexual abuse, and things like Vatileaks, but Frederic Martel reveals so much more in his outstanding account of the subject. He has interviewed dozens, even hundreds of clergy and others in many countries, and told a story of double standards and internal corruption that had me reeling from shock at times. Yet there have been lesser exposes before, not to mention Vatileaks, and things seem to have gone on much as before - how does this city state maintain its wealth and position while these things go on? Pope Francis may be fighting a losing battle - and the next Pope will probably be another conservative like John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Martel is to be congratulated for his sterling work.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Chris Herrick
  • Chris Herrick
  • 11-05-22

Love the Sinner, Not the Sin!

Revelatory examination of the consequences of the denial and extraordinary efforts to conceal the sexual shadowland at the heart of an all-to- human institution.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Michael
  • Michael
  • 10-24-20

Magnificent Book

One the truly amazing books ever written. It's written with beautiful pose and researched with amazing effort.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for John Maher
  • John Maher
  • 12-14-19

Wordy, inferential

I would not recommend this book, seems to be pushing an agenda, almost obsessionally. A lot of gravy, little meat.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Dudley
  • Dudley
  • 08-30-19

Don’t buy bitchy tabloid nonsense

Given the credentials of the author I expected a well researched account.

Instead bitchy tabloid nonsense. Hard to determine where the truth starts or finishes.

Don’t waste your money, I’m going to try & get mine back.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Ross Wallace
  • Ross Wallace
  • 05-20-19

Wow!

What a book! Incredible detail. Brilliantly researched. Beautifully read. This book is definitely a must!