Just when you thought the Catholic Church couldn’t get involved in any more sexy scandals, a brand-new one gets erected.
News broke on Tuesday that the Holy See purchased a $30 million dollar share (€23 million or £21 million if you’re keeping track) of Rome real estate that includes Europe’s largest gay sauna, Europa Multiclub. This makes the Vatican its official landlord.
Yes, this looks like another sticky situation for the church, indeed.
The news hit just before the Council of Cardinals convened to select a new Pope. While this could simply be chalked up to another embarrassing PR scandal for the Vatican, The Independent reported the following:
The senior Vatican figure sweating the most due to the unlikely proximity of the gay Europa Multiclub is probably Cardinal Ivan Dias, the head of the Congregation for Evangelisation of Peoples, who is due to participate in tomorrow’s election at the Sistine Chapel.
This 76-year-old “prince of the church” enjoys a 12-room apartment on the first-floor of the imposing palazzo, at 2 Via Carducci, just yards from the ground floor entrance to the steamy flesh pot. There are 18 other Vatican apartments in the block, many of which house priests.
The Holy See is still reeling from allegations that the previous pontiff, Benedict XVI, had quit in reaction to the presence of a gay cabal in the curia.
And with disgraced Scottish cardinal Keith O’Brien lending new weight to charges of hypocrisy against the Church’s stance on homosexuality, La Repubblica newspaper noted that the presence of “Italy’s best known gay sauna in the premises is an embarrassment”.
No word yet how Cardinal Dias, who is seen as a social conservative even within the Catholic church, explained the noises going on in the business downstairs.
Salon.com reports that this isn’t the Church’s only financial holding in the sins of the flesh, either. “As reported by The New Civil Rights Movement, they also own a $2.3 billion German publisher that sells titles like Fuckable and Lawyer’s Whore.“