A senior Roman Catholic official has said that the Church will conduct immediate investigations into allegations against a priest exposed on Italian TV.

Cardinal Julian Herranz, president of the Disciplinary Commission of the Roman Curia, told La Repubblica newspaper that the Vatican wanted a quick “internal clean-up.”

Monsignor Tommaso Stenico was suspended on Sunday after he was identified in a television broadcast supposedly declaring his homosexuality and making advances to a young man while a hidden camera filmed him.

He had invited the man to his Vatican office after chatting to him online.

The Monsignor was also recorded in TV expose saying that he did not regard his homosexuality as sinful but was discreet in order not to attract the attention of the his superiors or the Pope.

When repeatedly confronted by the undercover reporter that gay sex is sinful in the eyes of the Church, the Monsignor then said he was tired of the conversation and showed his guest to the lift.

He was identified in the TV broadcast only as a sixty-year-old, working in the Congregation for the Clergy department, which manages the world’s 400,000 active Catholic priests.

However, Vatican officials recognised his office from the footage as well as the lift.

Cardinal Herranz told La Repubblica newspaper:

“The Holy See (the Vatican) is the party most interested in quickly carrying out an internal clean-up – but always respecting human rights and after the pronouncement of the judicial authority.

“This is the same criteria that will be applied to Monsignor Tommaso Stenico.”

The Monsignor, who is a TV chat show regular in Italy, later claimed to be pretending to be gay in online chat rooms in order to meet gay men as part of his work as a psychoanalyst.

“I pretended to be gay – a thief amongst thieves – to enter into contact with those damaging the image of the Church with homosexual practices inside and outside the Vatican,” he said.

“It’s all false – I was in a trap. I was a victim of my own attempts to contribute to cleaning up the Church with my psychoanalyst work.”