Anti-Gay Cardinal Lives Above Europe's Biggest Gay Sauna

The papal conclave is not the only news out of Italy involving men closely gathered in a room.

Today, Catholic Cardinals will assemble at the Sistine Chapel to elect the next Pope. But that’s not the only news out of Italy involving men closely gathered in a room. It turns out the Holy See purchased 20 shares of an apartment building housing Europe’s largest gay sauna.

The mega-spa Europa Multiclub boasts of king Turkish baths, Finnish saunas, waterfalls, whirlpools and many other amenities. It’s website describes a “comfortable world … created by males and for males only.” So, the College of Cardinals has at least one thing in common with its gay buildingmate. 

Senior Cardinal Ivan Dias lives in a 12-room apartment one floor above the club, known for hosting “bear nights,” in which “a hairy, overweight pastor of souls, is free to the music of his clergyman, remaining in a thong, because he wants to expose body and soul,” the Independent says. Dias probably won’t be in attendance, given his public attacks against the LGBT community. The Indian cardinal believes gays and lesbians can be cured of their “unnatural tendencies” through the “sacrament of penance.”

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The Vatican reportedly paid €20 million ($26,020,000) for its share of the Rome apartment block in 2008. TheIndependent reports the Church avoided paying taxes on the properties, listing them as part of the Holy City, thanks to the previous Berlusconi administration.

At time of publication, the Vatican has yet to comment on the gay sauna next door to 18 church-owned properties.

Steven Hsieh is an editorial assistant at AlterNet and writer based in Brooklyn. Follow him on Twitter @stevenjhsieh.