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Vatican spends €23m to buy ‘Europe’s largest gay sauna’

Vatican spends €23m to buy ‘Europe’s largest gay sauna’

Vatican officials are sweating over claims it has splashed out millions on an Italian apartment block above ‘Europe’s largest gay sauna’.

As 115 cardinals prepare to elect a new Pope, Italian newspaper La Repubblica has claimed the Vatican spent €23m ($30m) on the building.

The apartments provide accommodation for 15 priests, with Indian Cardinal Ivan Dias, 76, currently residing in a plush 12-room pad on the first floor.

‘Italy’s best known gay sauna in the premises is an embarrassment,’ La Repubblica said on its front page.

The Europe Multiclub Sauna and Gym describes itself as ‘the number one gay sauna in Italy’.

On the website, a video promotes special ‘bear nights’ in which a man strips down to a thong before changing into a priest’s outfit.

La Repubblica also claims the apartments were bought for €10m in 2008 by a property company which sold them to the Vatican for €23m, making an instant profit of 13 million on the same day.

While gay rights activists are hoping the next Pope will be more gay-friendly than Benedict XVI, it looks unlikely when looking at the top seven candidates.

The Vatican has declined to comment.