One of Italy’s most outspokenly dissenting Catholic priests, Domenico Pezzini, has been arrested for abuse of a male teenaged victim. Pezzini, a 73 year-old priest of the diocese of Lodi, was arrested Monday in Milan. Police also revealed that a large quantity of child pornography had been found after a search of Pezzini’s residence.
In keeping with mainstream media coverage of clerical sex abuse, the Italian media is presenting the abuse as a case of “pedophilia,” or the abuse of a child. Nevertheless, police have made it public that the victim was not a child, but a minor adolescent, between 13 and 16, at the time of the alleged abuse, over three years ago.
Aurelio Mancuso, former president of Arcigay, the country’s leading homosexualist activist group, was quoted saying, “In these hours is strong discouragement among many gay Catholics who have known Don Mario Pezzini personally or through his actions and deeds.
“We have always enjoyed a journey of pastoral listening and defending the dignity of homosexuals within the Catholic Church. All this cannot overshadow the accusations made against the prelate that seem to be precise and detailed: violence and sexual abuse of children.”
Pezzini, a professor of English linguistics at the University of Verona, is a celebrity for homosexualist activists in the Catholic Church in Italy. In the 1980s, he helped to found a group, called The Source, similar to that of New Ways Ministry in the U.S., that attempted to pressure the Catholic Church to accept homosexual activity. He has authored several books defending homosexual behavior.
In 1999, Pezzini wrote an article attacking then-Cardinal Ratzinger after the latter had disciplined Sr. Jeannine Gramick and Fr. Robert Nugent, the founders of New Ways Ministry, who had refused to assent to Catholic teaching on sexuality.