John M. Becker

Report: Pope Met With Stalled Gay Ambassador Nominee

Filed By John M. Becker | April 23, 2015 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: ambassadors, Catholic Church, Catholicism, diplomacy, diplomatic protocol, France, international relations, Laurent Stefanini, Pope Francis, Vatican, Vatican City

francis.jpgThe French government is reporting that Pope Francis recently held a private meeting with Laurent Stefanini, France's ambassador-designate to the Vatican whom the Holy See has declined to confirm for months. The Vatican has not commented on the delay, but it is widely speculated to be due to the fact that Mr. Stefanini, a practicing Catholic, is also a gay man.

Reuters has the story:

"There was a meeting between the Pope and Mr Stefanini," government spokesman Stephane Le Foll told a regular briefing, confirming a report by satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine...

"Nothing has changed: France has proposed a candidate and for the time being we are waiting for the Vatican's reply after the usual discussions and review of his candidacy."

Neither the nominee nor the French government have made an official statement on his sexuality, the Foreign Ministry saying only his private life should be respected.

The Vatican has declined to comment on the matter, saying that an appointment is confirmed when the name is published in the official bulletin of the Holy See. It is extremely rare for the Pope to get directly involved the naming of ambassadors.

Le Canard Enchâiné alleges that in a "very discreet" 15-minute meeting over the weekend, Pope Francis told Stefanini that the Vatican would not accept his appointment, but that the rejection was "nothing personal."

While the French government confirmed that a meeting did take place, it dismissed the paper's claim that Francis has definitively rejected Stefanini's nomination.

Still, this is a pretty far cry from "who am I to judge," wouldn't you say?

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