Predator priests, Game of Thrones, and why Italians don’t use Viagra, in this week’s dubious tabloids

Sexually abusive clergy vie with celebrities in this week’s tawdry tabloids.

“America’s Dirty Clergy Revealed!” screams the ’National Enquirer’ headline above a story claiming to name “4,120 Predator Priests.”

Hundreds of Catholic priests accused of sex offenses are named across four densely-packed pages of small print in what promises to be the first of a month-long exposé, identifying the alleged violators “as a public service.”

But it’s not such a great public service when you realize how old the ‘Enquirer’ information must be: more than half the abusive priests named are deceased.

Of the 36 “pervy predators” identified in Alaska, for example, one was imprisoned, one retired and one removed. The remaining 33 are all dead.

“Hunting the Predators: More Names Exposed Next Week!” promises the ‘Enquirer.’ Can’t wait. I’m sure they’re all spinning in their graves.

‘People’ magazine turns to a different faith for its clerical abuse: “A Jehovah’s Witness Cover-Up?”

Survivors of pedophile sexual abuse within the religious group are speaking out in a new TV documentary series ‘The Witnesses,’ which ‘People’ reports was sparked after internal memos by faith elders were discovered “detailing how Jehovah’s Witness leaders are instructed to conceal abuse complaints from police.”

The group reportedly “keeps a database of all sex-abuse allegations from within its 13,000 U.S. and 120,000 worldwide congregations,,” which is branded “a potential mother lode of criminal evidence involving children.”

Makes me glad to be an atheist.

The Royal soap opera’s latest dramas continue to occupy the tabloids, with their traditionally tenuous connection to reality.

“Palace Confirms Queen Near Death!” reports the ‘Enquirer’ cover.

No, Buckingham Palace didn’t say any such thing. The Palace merely confirmed that the monarch had "a slight cold" last week, which an insider assured was “no cause for alarm."

“Charles & William - Bitter War For Throne!” screams the ‘Enquirer’ cover.

We’ve been over this before, but they never learn: The Settlement Act of 1701 which determines the rules of succession mandates that after the Queen’s death the crown must pass to Prince Charles. Unless he voluntarily abdicates there’s no “war” for the throne. Of course, that doesn’t stop the ‘Enquirer' calling this fictional battle “a real life game of thrones.” Cue the dragons.

“Meghan’s Reign of Terror!” proclaims the ‘Globe’ cover. “Two Royal Families Destroyed.”

It’s the predictive school of journalism in which the ‘Enquirer’ specializes: reporting on events years before they happen.

Evidently Duchess Meghan is not only "blamed for bringing monarchy to its knees” by the grammatically-challenged ‘Enquirer. “Now royal watchers fear her new life in Canada with Prince Harry and Archie is next on the chopping block.”

Meghan will allegedly leave Harry in three to five years, according to a "royal commentator.” Hence, she has destroyed “Two Royal Families.” Even though it hasn’t happened yet.

Meghan also “Attacks own Dad in ugly court fight,” reports the ‘Enquirer,’ getting the story entirely backwards: It’s her father, Thomas Markle, Sr., who has attacked Meghan and expressed his willingness to testify in court against her in a court case defending British newspaper The Mail on Sunday from a Royal lawsuit’s allegations of publishing selected excerpts of a private letter Meghan sent to her father. Meghan has sued the paper, but has not yet attacked her own father in the court battle.

While Meghan’s PR team effectively self-immolates, Duchess Kate’s PR team continues to position her as marginally more saintly than Mother Teresa, but with better fashion sense.

“Brave Kate,” declares the objective and journalistically impartial cover of ‘Us’ magazine, promising “Her Side of The Story.”

Not that Kate is sitting down to talk to the celebrity rag, but it fawningly promotes her team’s talking points about her self-sacrifice and private sorrows: “18-hour days, hands-on mom & comforting the Queen; No contact with Harry & Meghan since exit; Forced to put baby No.4 on hold.”

Kate’s reportedly “in a panic and has been having bouts of anxiety” after Prince Harry & Meghan’s departure from the ranks of the senior Royals have left her and hubby Prince William with double the Royal workload. Kate & Meghan “couldn’t be further apart” says an unnamed insider, and Kate is still steaming over the time she overheard Meghan say: “I don’t want any advice from her.”

Do these people know they’re living in a telenovela?

‘People’ magazine continues the hagiography with “Princess Kate’s New Project - Honoring Holocaust Survivors.”

Amateur lenswoman Kate, AKA The Duchess of Cambridge, photographed a pair of holocaust survivors and their grandchildren as part of her tribute to the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

A worthy cause, no doubt, but the resulting photos, reportedly “inspired by the work of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer,” might leave Vermeer’s heirs filing a defamation of character lawsuit.

Making it up as they go, the ‘Globe’ offers its usual array of celebrity medical stories that barely rise above sheer speculation.

“Ryan O’Neal’s Dying of Broken Heart!” the mag claims. "Haunted by Farrah’s tragic end.”

The star of ‘Love Story’ and ‘Paper Moon’ has reportedly lost weight and now walks with a cane, therefore “friends fear the sickly star may not survive 2020.”

Because as every doctor knows, walking with a cane and losing weight are incontrovertible signs that a patient has less than 12 months to live.

He’s pictured walking along a beach, which seems pretty life-affirming, except for the picture caption: “Crippled Ryan O’Neal Loses Will To Live.” Right.

Elvis Presley’s daughter comes in for a similarly inspired diagnosis: “Tormented Lisa Marie May Need New Liver!”

Or she may not. She’s been photographed with a bulging belly, which “medical experts say could be a sign of advanced liver failure!” Or over-eating. Or pregnancy, though at the age of 52 that’s a slim possibility. Is a liver transplant the only possible outcome for what looks like a beer belly?

The ‘Enquirer’ gets in on the act with its story about “Skin-&-Bones” actor Johnny Depp, reporting that the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ star who plays Captain Jack Sparrow “may be on his last voyage!” But hasn’t he always been thin?

Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at ‘Us’ magazine to tell us that Julianne Hough wore it best, that Wendie Malick “can stand on my head in a cocktail dress, raise one eyebrow at a time and whistle like a sailor,” that TV’s ‘Dynasty’ actress Elaine Hendrix carries lipstick, keys and bobby pins in her vegan Shiraleah tote, and that the stars are just like us: they lift weights, hail cabs and go to flea markets. News you can use, as ever.

The most bizarre offering in this week’s tabloids comes courtesy of an ad for “bedroom rocket fuel” under the headline: “Men in Italy don’t need ED drugs. Now we know why . ..”

The ad invokes well-worn cultural profiling that suggests “older men from Italy and all over Europe are famous for staying energized, passionate and sexually active well into their 80s” and goes on to explain that Italian men don’t need drugs to resolve erectile dysfunction because . . they take an herbal remedy for the problem.

You can’t argue with science.

Onwards and downwards . . .