The article, called Gay Priests' Nights on the Town, describes how the reporter was assisted by a gay accomplice as they worked on the article for the weekly magazine, which is owned by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
The Daily Mail
said it detailed how three priests - two Italians and a Frenchman - took part in gay events and had casual sex.
said that one priest, who they called Carlo, willingly put on his cassock to have sex with the reporter's accomplice, and this was filmed by hidden camera. The reporter and accomplice later attended a Mass celebrated by Carlo.
Today there was no immediate comment from the Italian Bishops Conference and the Vatican, although BBC News
reported that an Italian Catholic diocese responded to the article by denouncing homosexual priests for their double life and saying they should not be in the priesthood.
The diocese said: "We don't wish any ill-will against them, but we cannot accept that because of their behaviour the honour of all the others is sullied."
The Catholic Church forbids priests to have sex and considers homosexual acts to be a sin. In 2005, Pope Benedict XVI issued an instruction barring actively gay priests from seminaries. He said men who practice homosexuality, or have deep-seated homosexual tendencies should not be admitted to seminaries. The only exception was to be for men who had given up homosexuality at least three years earlier.
Panorama editor Giorgio Mule told The Daily Mail: “This was a two week investigation and was not aimed at creating a scandal but showing that a certain section of the clergy behaves very differently.”