Vatican Buys Europe’s Biggest Gay Bathhouse

The Catholic Church recently bought a $30 million share of real estate in Rome — including the largest gay sauna in Europe.

Have they no shame?! (Wait, don’t answer that.)

An advertisement for the gay sauna Europa Multiclub, now proudly owned by the Vatican.

The purchase comes at an unfortunate — or perhaps convenient — time when the Catholic Church is dealing with yet another round of allegations about gay sex scandals, according to The Independent:

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”.

What’s even better: some Catholic officials are actually the bathhouse’s neighbors! The lucky guy living above the sauna is none other than one of the cardinals tasked with helping to pick the next Pope:

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 [the] 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 people running the sauna, no doubt amused by their stodgy landlord, are well aware of the irony of their situation and do their best to capitalize on it, according to Salon:

The Europe Multi Club appears game to engage with their neighbors at the Holy See, or at least content to mess with them. The club hosts a weekly “bear night,” featuring “Bruno, a hairy, overweight pastor of souls” who, dressed in Catholic vestments (naturally), is “free to the music of his clergyman, remaining in a thong, because he wants to expose body and soul,” according to The Independent. Bear night also features a buffet, because exposing one’s body and soul works up an appetite.

And finally, reminds The New Civil Rights Movement, this is hardly the most scandalous of the Catholic Church’s assorted purchases and possessions:

It should also be noted that the Catholic Church in Germany, as The New Civil Rights Movement reported in 2011, owns a $2.3 billion bookseller that sells, among other items, 2500 “erotic” books, with titles like “Sluts’ Boarding School,” and the Vatican threatened to sue any publisher who accused it of selling pornography. Its “erotica” titles, available through its bookseller, Weltbild., also included “Fuckable.”

Seriously, these guys can’t catch a break lately. I would feel bad for them… if they weren’t so fiercely committed to shaming and condemning a large portion of the population and perpetuating the world’s worst internalized homophobia. Oh well!

Catholic bear night, anyone?

About Camille Beredjick

Camille is a twentysomething working in the LGBT nonprofit industry. She runs an LGBT news blog at gaywrites.org.


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