Vatican-owned properties are being used by priests as brothels and massage parlours, according to the latest claims to emerge from the Vatileaks scandal.
The properties implicated in a report, leaked by a Vatican mole, include premises close to the Italian Parliament and a solarium near Piazza Barberini. A Vatican department, the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, owns hundreds of exclusive properties in central Rome, was also singled out in the document.
It claimed that Vatican officials were allowing buildings to be leased out at peppercorn rents as favours to powerful colleagues. The document also alleged that they would allow dodgy property deals that would see addresses being used as brothels and illicit saunas, it was reported by The Independent.
The claims come two years after the Church was embarrassed by revelations that several priests shared an apartment block with Europe’s largest homosexual sauna.
It was reported that the Holy See owned 19 apartments in the block in Rome after buying a £21million share of the building in 2008. Several of the flats house priests, notably Cardinal Ivan Dias, the so-called ‘prince of the church’ whose 12-room apartment at 2 Via Carducci is located just yards from the Europa Multiclub.
The facility, billed as ‘Italy’s best-known gay sauna‘, boasts a Turkish bath, Finnish sauna, whirlpools and massages. Its website ironically touts one of its ‘bear nights’ with a video of a hairy man stripping down and changing into a priest’s outfit.
It says Bruno is ‘free to the music of his clergyman, remaining in a thong, because he wants to expose body and soul’. The purchase was apparently the brainchild of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Pope Benedict’s much-disliked right-hand man who held the Vatican’s purse strings during the last pontificate.
The latest Vatileaks claims emerged as Pope Francis insisted the Church shun all temptations of power, prestige and money as he pressed his reform agenda amid a new scandal at the Vatican.
Francis outlined his vision of the church in a lengthy speech to Italian bishops gathered in Florence, leaving behind a Vatican reeling from revelations of internal resistance to his reform agenda.
The Argentine Jesuit told the bishops he wanted a church that was humble and poor and not obsessed with preaching doctrine or acquiring power.
His visit comes after two new books laid bare the Pope’s uphill battle to reform the Italian-dominated Vatican bureaucracy and get a handle on its finances.
Citing leaked confidential documents, the books exposed the greed of cardinals and monsignors, mismanagement of Vatican assets and the resistance to change from the Holy See’s old guard.
A high-ranking Vatican monsignor and a laywoman have been arrested in the probe into the leaked documents.
Francis has denounced the leaks as a crime but vowed to press ahead with his reform agenda. Francis began his day-long visit to Tuscany with a stop in the industrial city of Prato, where a 2013 garment factory fire killed seven Chinese workers.
In off-the-cuff comments to Prato residents gathered in the piazza outside the city’s cathedral, Francis decried the ‘inhuman’ conditions the illegal workers were forced to endure.
‘The life of every community requires that we fight the cancer of corruption, the cancer of human and labor exploitation and the poison of illegality,’ he said to applause from the crowd.
The Argentine Jesuit pope has frequently spoken out about the scourge of human trafficking and the need for dignified work for all. source