Another gay scandal has hit the Catholic Church in Italy after three priests were allegedly filmed having casual sex and visiting gay nightclubs.

Italian weekly news magazine Panorama said its undercover reporter filmed the three with the help of a gay accomplice.

It said it would not name the priests but said in a preview of the article that the footage would be published.

The magazine said: “By day they are regular priests, complete with dog collar, but, at night it’s off with the cassock as they take their place as perfectly integrated members of the Italian capital’s gay scene.”

It added that the reporter saw the priests taking part in gay events and one was even filmed wearing his cassock during sex.

The magazine quoted one priest as saying that “98 per cent” of the priests he knew were gay.

The Roman Catholic Rome diocese said today that the article was designed to damage the church, but told priests not to live a “double life”.

Catholic priests are required to be celibate and homosexuality is strictly forbidden, as the church regards it as “intrinsically disordered”.

In March, it was claimed that a chorister had procured male prostitutes for a papal gentleman-in-waiting.

The chorister, 29-year-old Thomas Chinedu Ehiem, was sacked after police heard him talking on a wiretap to Angelo Balducci, a Gentleman of His Holiness.

Please scroll down to view a video clip from Panorama magazine (does NOT contain nudity or sexual scenes but caution is advised)

For the full story (in Italian) click here