Top Vatican Officials Purchase Apartments Next Door to Europe's Largest Gay Bathhouse

The latest in a string of gay sex scandals involving the Vatican hits a little closer to home.

Literally: Italy's La Repubblica newspaper published a report this week claiming that the Vatican had spent some $30 million dollars buying a number of apartments adjacent to Europa Multiclub — one of Europe's largest gay bathhouses.

The Vatican's properties on Via Carducci in Rome serve as homes to many top-level members of the Roman Curia's Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples — the department responsible for coordinating the Church's missionary work — including the Congregation's head, ultra-conservative cardinal Ivan Dias of India, who has referred to homosexuality as a disease in need of a "cure."

Dias, the so-called "prince of the Church," has a spacious 12-room apartment "just yards away" from the bathhouse's main entrance, according to The Independent.

As for Europa Multiclub itself, the sauna and fitness center seems to be well-aware of its neighbors (and potential patrons), regularly hosting "papal-themed bear nights" featuring a defrocking priest and other blasphemous attractions.

The Vatican has so far remained mum on the revelation, which is understandable considering all the other gay scandals ahead in line.

Meanwhile, Italy's gays were happy to speak up on the Vatican's behalf, unleashing a torrent of zingers on social media and elsewhere.

"If you can't go to the gay sauna for fear of being seen what do you do if you have millions of Euros stolen from Italians?" one Italian asked rhetorically. "You buy the apartment block with the sauna inside."

[photo via AP, screengrab via Europa Multiclub]