An Italian monsignor was suspended from a senior position at the Holy See, the Vatican said on Saturday, identifying him as a priest who was anonymously interviewed about his gay sex life on a television program.

In the program on a private Italian television network, the monsignor said he "didn't feel he was sinning" by having sex with gay men, Rome daily La Repubblica reported Saturday. Vatican officials recognized the Vatican office in the interview took place, La Repubblica reported.

Vatican officials "had to intervene decisively and with the severity required by conduct not compatible with priestly service and with the mission of the Holy See," said the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman.

Lombardi did not identify the cleric, but said the monsignor was suspended from his job as a top official in the Vatican's Congregation for Clergy, an office which aims to ensure proper conduct by priests.

In the television program, priests — including the monsignor who was suspended — were interviewed with their faces obscured and their voices altered so they would not be recognized.

"Higher-ups are evaluating the situation with the necessary reserve and with the obligatory respect for the person involved, even if this person has erred," Lombardi said.

Vatican teaching holds that homosexuality activity is a sin.