الأحد , يونيو 14 2020

France stands by gay Vatican envoy

Faithful stand in front St Peters basilica during the Easter Holy Mass on 8 April 2012 at St Peters square at The Vatican

Three months after France proposed Mr Stefanini as ambassador, the Vatican remains silent

France has said it will not back down over its nomination of an openly gay ambassador to the Vatican.

The French government proposed senior diplomat Laurent Stefanini for the post in January but the Vatican is yet to respond to approve the choice.

The Vatican usually responds within six weeks to approve such a new ambassador.

The nomination of Mr Stefanini was seen as a litmus test for Pope Francis, who has taken a more liberal stance on homosexuality.

A French government spokesman said there had been negotiations with the Vatican over the appointment.

“France has chosen its ambassador to the Vatican. This choice was Stefanini and that remains the French proposal,” said spokesman Stephane Le Foll.

Observers say most Vatican appointments are confirmed within six weeks and that this long silence should be read as a rejection.

The Vatican traditionally makes no statement if it intends to decline a nomination.

Mr Stefanini served in the Holy See as a deputy ambassador in the French embassy from 2001 to 2005.

He was described by the country’s foreign ministry as “one of our best diplomats”.

France legalised same-sex marriage in 2013, despite opposition from the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis is regarded as more tolerant of homosexuality than previous popes. “Who am I to judge?”, he said in 2013.

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