Vatican officials are sweating over claims it has splashed out £21million on a Rome apartment block above ‘Europe’s largest gay sauna’.
The startling reports will be hugely embarrassing for the Catholic Church as its cardinals begin voting today for a new Pope to replace Benedict XVI following his surprise resignation.
Cardinal Ivan Dias is likely to be redder than most as he prepares to cast his vote, with the 76-year-old currently residing in a plush 12-room first-floor apartment in the complex.
A further 18 flats houses dozens of priests from the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples which is responsible for missionary activities.
The Holy See reportedly purchased the luxury headquarters in 2008 seemingly unaware of the steamy activities going on underneath their feet.
‘Italy’s best known gay sauna in the premises is an embarrassment,’ noted La Repubblica newspaper who splashed the story across its front page on Monday.
The popular Europa Multiclub Sauna and Gym is widely regarded as ‘the number one gay sauna in Italy’.
Their website features a video promoting one of its special ‘bear nights’ in which a man strips down to a thong before changing into a priests outfit. The Vatican declined to comment on the reports.