Ex-Vatican adviser faces trial after claiming he could cure gay men by having sex with them

vatican adviser abuse gay Tony Anatrella

A former Vatican adviser who campaigned against same-sex marriage and gay priests is facing trial over claims he told gay men he could cure them with sex.

Tony Anatrella, an 80-year-old French psychotherapist, Catholic priest and former Vatican adviser, who has been plagued by accusations of sexual abuse for the last 20 years.

Finally, the Paris Archdiocese has confirmed that Anatrella will face trial in a church court, according to the National Catholic Reporter.

There are not yet any details on the charges he will face, or when the trial will begin.

In 2006, a man named Daniel Lamarca went public with his accusations of sexual abuse by Anatrella in an interview with Dutch newspaper Nederlands Dagblad. 

He said that he began counselling with Anatrella in 1987, and that the priest told him he could cure him of his “pseudo-homosexuality” by having sex with him.

Lamarca said he tried to report the alleged abuse to the archbishop of Paris in 2001, but was ignored. “I know details about Anatrella’s body that could only be known to someone who has seen him naked,” he said in the interview.

Two further anonymous accusations from former patients of Anatrella also surfaced in 2006, but because of the statute of limitations and a lack of evidence, they were dismissed.

In 2017, the archbishop of Paris Michel Aupetit launched a canonical investigation into the accusations against Anatrella, and heard from multiple alleged victims who said they had been subjected to “body therapy” at the hands of the priest, designed to “cure” them of being gay. By 2018, he had been banned from ministering as a priest.

In 2019, Anatrella faced yet another sexual abuse allegation, this time from a former patient who said he was just 14 years old at the time.

Former Vatican advisor Tony Anatrella has a long history of homophobia

In 2005, Tony Anatrella was a key adviser to the Vatican on banning gay men from the Catholic priesthood.

Anatrella, who at the time was a consultant for the church’s Pontifical Council for the Family, which dealt with issues including marriage, family, sex education and AIDS, commented on the prohibition in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. 

He wrote: “Candidates who present ‘deep-seated homosexual tendencies’, that is, an exclusive attraction with regard to persons of the same sex (a structural orientation) – independently of whether or not they’ve had erotic experiences – may not be admitted to seminaries and to sacred orders.”

He also claimed that gay people had a whole host of problems, including  “exaggerated, affective choices”, “a narcissistic position in front of a community that disturbs even to the point of dividing it”, “relations with authority based on seduction and rejection”, a “limited vision of truth”, and “relational and intellectual confusion”.

At a conference on homosexuality at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome in 2006, he told the audience that gay couples were incapable of raising their children, who would become “violent” and would develop “what I call ‘civilised delirious behaviour'”. He also bizarrely claimed that 40 per cent of children born to gay couples would become gay themselves.

Speaking at the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar in Ghana in 2010, Anatrella told African bishops they should reject Western “gender theory” which he said was “contrary to human interests”.

He added: “It suggests that sexual identity is independent of biological facts.”

In 2013, he supported protests against same-sex marriage in France, which he described as a “disastrous” move “that reduces the family to what it isn’t”.

He added at the time: “The confusion of sex and feelings leads to a confusion of the realities and an impasse.

“Marriage between persons of the same sex is simply ridiculous and the act doesn’t inspire any esteem as it doesn’t contribute at all to social relation.”