Paper claims pope rejected gay French diplomat as ambassador to Holy See

Apr 27, 2015

Photograph: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

By Stephanie Kirchgaessner and Kim Willsher

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.

In a meeting over the weekend, 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 in satirical title Le Canard Enchâiné.

Pope Francis also allegedly said he did not appreciate the manner in which France had tried to put pressure on the Vatican by nominating a man – 55-year-old Laurent Stéfanini – who French officials knew would be controversial given the church’s views on homosexuality. The Vatican declined to comment to the Guardian about the veracity of the report or whether a meeting took place.

The church’s apparent objection to Stéfanini, a practising Catholic, has been known for weeks, ever since press reports first indicated that the Vatican was dragging its feet on the nomination because of his sexual orientation.

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.

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19 comments on “Paper claims pope rejected gay French diplomat as ambassador to Holy See

  • @link – The Vatican dismissed reports in 2009 that it had rejected three possible US candidates for ambassador put forward by the Obama administration because they supported abortion rights. But there have been two occasions in the past 10 years when the Vatican has openly objected to candidates – one from Argentina, who was divorced and lived with his new partner, and another from France, who was gay and in a civil union with another man.

    The Vatican has been expressing its discriminatory bigotry as an example to its followers for years!
    France stands firm over nomination of gay Vatican envoy

    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.

    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.

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  • 4
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    Why is it that it’s always the positive “feel good” stories about the pope that make the major headlines in the mainstream press while more relevant stories like this one only produce a tiny column in the back pages of International news section?

    For example, the Pope’s recent condemnation of the Arminian genocide. Sure, it’s a good thing that he condemmed that but any honest, decent, non-delusional person would. So this is essentially fluff in terms of news. This story OTOH is very revealing about Pope Francis: it tells us how he really feels about gays and how they should be treated.

    Pope Francis once again shows his true colors on homosexuality but many people appear to be unfazed by it. The media seem to prefer giving higher priority to the PR gobbledygook force-fed to them by this robe-wearing two-faced clown. Even Bill Maher, who is usually very critical of religious figures (and a news addict) seems to be under his spell and still thinks he’s a “nice guy”.

    I think that is incredibly naive. If this guy was really a progressive and open-minded about Catholic dogma and Bible Canon, the conclave simply would not have elected him Pope.

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  • Stéfanini has been described in the French media as a “brilliant” diplomat. He is a graduate of France’s elite Ecole Nationale d’Administration. He knows the Vatican well, having been first councillor to the French embassy there between 2001 and 2005, and has served as an adviser to the French foreign affairs ministry. He has been head of protocol for former centre-right president Nicolas Sarkozy and the socialist Hollande.

    Equality before the law? Equality of opportunity? Stefanini has magna cum laude credentials making his appointment a slam dunk. His sexual orientation is a biological condition of his private life not a “moral” failing which might render him incompetent or untrustworthy in the performance of his duties.

    Herein lies the magnitude of evil in key teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The world, and the billion Catholics it contains, is not merely hectored by one old man named Francis who cannot shake his homophobia; they are confronted by the monstrous power of an institution that preaches de facto ostracism and condemnation for homosexuals no matter how “loving” the pastoral rhetoric. How many people are internalizing this hatred from the top down and then turning on fellow human beings with vile, oppressive treatment whose torment at the extremes is excruciating in practice and in imagination.

    The doctrine, however qualified, encourages an egregious breach of human rights and constitutes in effect a crime against humanity. It cannot come soon enough for the United Nations, NGOs, and the civilized nations of the world to proclaim unconditional human rights and dignity for worldwide members of the LGBT community. Whatever daunting persecution gays face in developing nations, in traditional societies, enlightened humanity must overcome and end it. As for the Catholic Church, may a latter day Martin Luther rise up and speak truth to authority. Enough you sons of bitches!

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  • It should be clear from these links, that the Vatican only wants ambassadors who will tell them what they want to hear!
    (It’s an uncritical-thinking-faith-head thing!)

    The best option would be for countries to simply close their embassies, save a lot of money, and leave the Vatican in medieval splendid isolation in it’s little Holy Roman empire, while the rest of the world moves on through the 21st century!

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  • 7
    brettcalgary says:

    I guess we send ambassadors to the Vatican for the same reason we send to misguided countries? Let’s not waste our time on this rubbish. The pope Is not valid in 2015.

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  • If the governments of the world had any moral scruples, they would all withdrawn their ambassadors to the Holy Cee(?) Given the governments of the world don’t do this, I rate them equally with Papa Frank. This should receive world wide condemnation.

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  • How can you be “Forward Thinking” and also believe in a fictional book nearly 2000 years old?
    Basically the pope is just another member of the Mafia but with a dress on!

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  • 11
    Cairsley says:


    “… Even Bill Maher, who is usually very critical of religious figures (and a news addict) seems to be under his spell and still thinks he’s a “nice guy”.”

    You will be pleased to know that Bill Maher has “gone off this pope” since the latter’s surprisingly unedifying remarks after the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Unfortunately, I cannot now find the YouTube video of Bill Maher’s show where he says this, but it is there somewhere.

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  • WHY are there even ambassadors to a religion? to a church? to a tiny religious enclave in Rome? Humanists and Atheists and the RDFRS should come out with a campaign AGAINST all such ambassadors; against giving sovereign state status to a church. It is not a state, it is not a country, it is just a church. Churches don’t get state ambassadors. It wrongly elevates this, and only this one religion and church to an undeserved and unjust status among nations. NO AMBASSADORS from ANYONE to the Holy See, to Vatican City, to the Catholic Church!. NONE!

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  • brettcalgary
    Apr 27, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    I guess we send ambassadors to the Vatican for the same reason we send to misguided countries? Let’s not waste our time on this rubbish. The pope Is not valid in 2015.

    The differences are that we have useful businesses operating in those countries and trade with them for useful products or materials.
    There is no such no such trade that we need from the Vatican! – Even its bank was investigated for corruption!
    The cleric, nicknamed Monsignor Cinquecento after the €500 bills he habitually carried around with him, was charged with fraud and corruption, together with a former secret service agent and a ­financial broker. All three were suspected of attempting to smuggle €20m by private plane across the border from Switzerland.

    Prosecutors alleged that the priest, a former banker, was using the Institute for Religious Works – the formal name for the Vatican’s bank – to move money for businessmen based in the Naples region, widely regarded in Italy as a haven of organised crime. Worse still, Scarano (who, together with the other men, has denied any wrongdoing) had until only a month earlier been head of the accounting department at the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, the treasury of the Vatican.

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  • slowe
    Apr 28, 2015 at 8:25 am

    WHY are there even ambassadors to a religion? to a church? to a tiny religious enclave in Rome?

    The short answer, is that the Catholic Church achieved statehood in deal in exchange for support for Benito Mussolini!
    The Italian parliament ratified them on June 7, 1929. Italy was then under a Fascist government, but the succeeding democratic governments have all upheld the treaty. In 1947, the Lateran Pacts were incorporated into the democratic Constitution of Italy.[1] It recognized the Vatican as an independent state, with Mussolini agreeing to give the church financial support in return for public support from the pope at the time.

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  • WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? He’d shake his head and say, “Why did you select one group of God’s children to separate from the others and shame?

    Why have you sacrificed principles and family to adhere to outworn beliefs of two thousand years ago? You mistakenly superimpose onto the Modern Age antiquated conventions of the emerging culture of man 100 generations past — a painful anachronism now unnecessarily shouldered by the innocent.

    I left you thinking you’d take the love I shared with you to share with ALL people. Instead, you take a book of paper and ink, aged, disputed, and altered over time, and you make that book more important than LOVE itself. You deny rights to loving couples, and judge and punish them for being what God made them to be.

    You single out God’s children, harmless and unsuspecting, and prevent them from enjoying friendships and camaraderie. You bully others into such desperation that they take their own lives. You defy reason, compassion, equality, and ethics. You withhold love from your own child to pray the gay away. You chant dogma that contradicts human nature. And, you, too, see the injustice and humiliation you now promote. All this you do in the name of God!

    You travel a muddy road downhill in the dark.

    I light a different path to a place where people treat others the way they themselves want to be treated… the place where LOVE resides. See the light ahead? Follow me.”

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  • I was once a bigot. My parents and my era taught me wrong. In the expanse of a long life, I woke up and changed my mind. In penance for my youthful zealotry, I am compelled to share this insight with other bigots so they will recognize blindness to be a necessary step toward their enlightenment. I was once blind. But now I see.

    The unenlightened mistakenly superimpose onto the Modern Age antiquated conventions of 100+ generations past once forged by an emerging, but naïve, sometimes barbaric, culture of man. Today, this festering anachronism persecutes innocent homosexuals who suffer daily bigotry, hatred, and death because of worn-out beliefs.

    The paradigm shift has unique sensations about it. When brainwashed bigots begin the course of illumination, they resist. Goodness willing, slowly over decades — through observation, insight, reason, empathy, compassion, understanding, and release — the mind begins to open. The shoulders let go the heavy weight of prejudice. The heart lays bare its natural desire to love and treat everyone equally. And, the soul ascends briefly into Samadhi, Nirvana, Paradise, for a glimpse. Then comes awakening! A new perspective. Acceptance, appreciation, and celebration of our diverse humanity replace prejudice, animosity, and hatred. Cleansing of human character occurs within the evolution of the human mind.

    The present day paradigm shift will bring FREEDOM FOR ALL, not just the “chosen ones.” Thanks to the wisdom and courage of a majority of Supreme Court justices!

    Carol Green, Retired California Teacher, Heterosexual

    Open my eyes. Witness the suffering. Shed self-righteousness. Loose the chains that bind me. Open my mind. Ponder all possibilities. Open my heart. Live and let live. Fear not the uphill climb. Walk in their shoes toward the light. Judge no one on the basis of whom she loves, but on the content of her character.

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