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Catholic Church Hit With New LGBT Scandals

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Catholic Church Hit With New LGBT Scandals

by Peter Moore, 365Gay.com London Bureau

May 15, 2006 - 12:01 am ET

(London) The Roman Catholic Church was in the midst of damage control on Sunday following the firing of a key aide to the Cardinal in London for being gay and the reported arrest of a top Vatican official in Rome for trying to pick up a gay or transsexual prostitute.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has reportedly fired his top aide after discovering the man is gay.

The Mail reports that Stephen Noon's sexuality was discovered when his long-term partner visited him at his office.

"His partner came to the office at the end of the day and was introduced to the Cardinal," a friend of the couple tells The Mail.

"Shortly afterwards the Church made it clear that his sexuality was incompatible with the job he had to do. Since he was the spokesperson for the Cardinal, Murphy-O'Connor clearly felt he had to act because homosexual acts are regarded by the Church as a sin," the friend was quoted as saying.

Noon, 35, joined the Archbishop's staff in 2003. He was previously a press officer for the Scottish Nationalist Party, was handed the brief to improve the Catholic Church's image. The Church was paying him about $70,000 a year.

The cardinal was a leading opponent of Britain's civil partnership law, had opposed to the repeal of Clause 28 - which banned the promotion of homosexuality in schools - and fought against legislation that gave gays and lesbians job and housing protections.

Meanwhile, in Rome, the Vatican is vehemently denying published reports that a senior Church official had been arrested while looking for a male or a transsexual prostitute in an area of the city know for its hustlers.

The Ansa news agency and Italian newspapers report that the 48-year-old priest - whose rank was withheld and who was identified only by the initials CB - works in the office of the secretary of state of the Vatican.

"Information disseminated this morning by newspapers concerning a cleric in service at the Vatican are totally without foundation," a Vatican statement said.

The media outlets are standing by their stories.

©365Gay.com 2006

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