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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