The Vatican Revealed to Own Europe’s Largest Gay Sauna
It seems as though things aren't going so well for the Catholic Church: on top of failing to elect a new pope to lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics on Tuesday, several media outlets are reporting that the Vatican recently (and unknowingly?) bought Europe's biggest gay sauna.
The British newspaper the Independent reports that the Holy See faces scandal once again after it was reported the Vatican purchased a Roman apartment block for nearly $30 million. The problem is, the block is home to Europe's biggest gay sauna.
The Vatican's officials faces must be pretty red -- not from scoping out the steamy sauna -- but for apparently unknowingly buying Europa Multiclub. The Independent points out Cardinal Ivan Dias, the head of the Congregation for Evangelization of Peoples, 76, lives just yards away from the sauna, where gay men meet anonymously for sex (but you knew that). In addition, there are 18 other Vatican apartments on the block, many of which priests call home. Coincidence?
The British newspaper the Daily Mail reports that the purchase was made by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, one of Benedict's right hand men.
According to the Europa Mulitclub's website, one of the sauna's special events is "bear night," and the establishment's president, Marco, writes, "EMC is a place created by males and for males only. Our aim is to let you appreciate the taste and the satisfaction of meeting other persons in a unique and special place..." and that patrons can find everything from "king Turkish bath, finnish sauna, relaxation rooms with videos" to "cinema, parties, shows [and] surprises."
"So leave behind stress, uncertainties, fears and enjoy the priceless pleausre of beeing yourself! Now...are you ready to take a tour?" Marco writes.
It's unclear if the Vatican will shut down the sauna or not.
This is far from the first time the modern Roman Catholic Church has dealt with rumors of a gay scandal.
When Pope Benedict XVI announced in late February that he would resign because of poor health, rumors soon spread that the papal called it quits because he's gay. The Italian newspaper La Repubblica, also alleged that Benedict resigned because he was being pressured by a gay lobby within the Vatican. On the day of his resignation, gay Catholic blogger Andrew Sullivan pointed out that it seemed odd that Benedict was planning to spend his remaining years with his handsome right-hand man, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, in the Vatican, instead of returning to Germany, which led a numer of media sites, like Gawker, to call Ganswein Benedict's sexy secret boyfriend.
Additionally, the church is reeling from the scandal surrounding the now-former Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the highest prelate in Scotland, who admitted to having inappropriate sexual relationships with other priests. More recently, Peter Kearney, a spokesperson for the church, slammed O'Brien for hypocrisy as the cardinal had been extremely vocal when condemning gay rights.
The Independent writes that Dias, who is ultra conservative and believes gay men and lesbians can be cured of their "unnatural tendencies" through the "sacrament of penance," "is no doubt horrified to learn of the activities taking place a floor below" his apartment.