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Vatican apartments in Rome are neighbors to gay sauna

Awkward investments: department of the Vatican shares apartment premises with one of Europe's largest gay saunas.

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Tourists hold umbrellas as they stand on St Peter's square on March 11, 2013 at the Vatican. (JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

In what can only be described as a case of bizarre bedfellows, the Vatican's Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples office shares an apartment building with the Europa Multiclub Sauna and Gym — a facility that proclaims itself the top gay sauna in all of Italy.

The Independent writes that the Vatican acquired 20 apartments in the building in 2008 for the princely sum of over $26 million, providing a massive payout for the property company that initially acquired the living areas.

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Numerous priests reside in the apartments, notes the BBC, including Prefect Emeritus Cardinal Ivan Dias, among others.

Right next door, the flamboyant Europa Multiclub offers Turkish baths, massage therapy, cinema, a gym, and even special events devoted to "bears" — widely known as gay men who project an image of hairy and rugged maleness.

"Bears, hunters and admirer are welcome in Europa Multiclub!," notes club owner "Marco" on the business's website.

According to the BBC, the Vatican has yet to comment on the Vatican's property holdings proximity to the gay club.

The Catholic Church's leadership meanwhile continues its idealogical long-time stand against homosexuality, continuing to speak out against gay marriage and the wider cultural accepability of such unions — including outgoing Pope Benedict XVI's controversial anti-gay 2012 Christmas message.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/130312/vatican-purchased-shares-apartment-block-home-gay-sa