France: Paper claims Pope rejected gay French diplomat as ambassador

Pope Francis met France’s nominated ambassador to the Holy See, who is gay, and told him that the Vatican would not accept his appointment, a French newspaper has claimed. The pontiff allegedly cited his displeasure with a controversial 2013 gay marriage law in France as part of his reason for the decision. According to the report, Stéfanini had a “very discreet” 15-minute audience with the pontiff over the weekend, who said his objection to the French appointment was “nothing personal”.

The refusal by the Holy See to formally accept Stéfanini’s credentials was seen as an indirect way of forcing France to pick another ambassador and avoid making a public statement on the issue. French president, François Hollande, had let it be known he was sticking by his first choice for the job. Usually, a country would not put a nominee forward to the Holy See if it knew following informal talks that the nominee might not be seen as acceptable.

The suggestion that Pope Francis would deny an unmarried gay man – who has repeatedly been referred to as private in his personal life – the chance to serve as France’s highest diplomat to the Vatican seemed to contradict a statement he made early in his young papacy, when he said “who am I to judge?” after he was asked about the existence of a “gay lobby” within the Vatican.  Read More