Surprise! Pope says no to France’s allegedly homosexual ambassador


Laurent Stefanini

What was Francois Hollande thinking? Did the French president really think the Vatican was going to accredit a diplomat believed to be homosexual as France’s new ambassador to the Holy See? Pope Francis may be a reformer on some issues – I mean, it was downright incredible that earlier this year he told Filipino Catholics that there was no need to “breed like rabbits” – but there are lines drawn in the sand that are unlikely ever to be crossed. At least not in the foreseeable future.

(Author’s Note:  Read in the paper the other day that I am wrong and that the Pope IS on the verge of changing his mind. That would be good. Let’s see).

Hollande had informed the Vatican that the French Cabinet in January had named as France’s next envoy Laurent Stefanini, a French career diplomat who is believed to be homosexual although other press reports said he had never declared his sexual preferences openly. Stefanini has already served at the French embassy to the Holy See between 2001 and 2005 as a political councilor and is said to be a practicing Catholic. Subsequent to his appointment in Rome, he served at the Quai d’Orsay as a councilor for religious affairs. And was later promoted to chief of Protocol under Hollande’s predecessor, Nicholas Sarkozy, a post he continued to occupy after Hollande’s election.

This past Saturday, according to press reports, Mr. Stefanini was received by Pope Francis who repeated the Vatican’s refusal to accredit him to the Holy See’s diplomatic corps. The press reports in the French satirical weekly, Le Canard Enchainé, said the Pope told the diplomat he had nothing against him personally but objected to the French government’s attempts to force his hand. He also reportedly expressed displeasure over the recent French law allowing same-sex marriage. So, what else is new?

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