Vatican silence over gay ambassador

Vatican silence over gay ambassador

The Vatican is keeping schtum on reports that it won’t accept a new French ambassador – Laurent Stéfanini, 55, above – because he is gay.

According to the BBC, the French government proposed the senior diplomat for the post in January. It normally takes about a month for an appointment to be approved, but three months on the Vatican has kept a diplomatic silence.

Media reports in France say the French government is refusing to back down over the appointment.

In 2007, France proposed an openly gay diplomat to be its ambassador at the Vatican but was forced to choose another after months of silence.

The French Catholic newspaper La Croix reports that the Vatican has indicated the posting is unacceptable.

Stefanini is openly gay and was posted to France’s Rome embassy between 2001 and 2005.

The foreign ministry in Paris reportedly  said:

He is one of our best diplomats. That’s why we appointed him. We are waiting for a reply to our request.

The BBC’s Rome correspondent James Reynolds says that the apparent rejection may not be the Vatican responding to Mr Stefanini’s sexuality. One interpretation could be that the Holy See is displeased with France’s decision to legalise same-sex marriage in 2013.

The Guardian adds that Stéfanini is a practising Catholic who has been described in the Italian press as an exemplary candidate and a man of “exceptional culture”. He is a senior diplomat and chief of protocol in the French government of François Hollande.


The appointment of Stéfanini was blessed by the archbishop of Paris, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, above, according to a report in Out magazine.

The French embassy to the Holy See declined to comment.

The Vatican Insider, which closely follows the Vatican in Rome, claims that Stéfanini was invited to a meeting with the apostolic nuncio in Paris, Archbishop Luigi Ventura, on February 5 and informally asked to step aside and renounce his nomination because of his sexual orientation.

The report, which did not disclose the source of the information, said the manner in which the request was made – during a private and informal meeting – underlined that it was considered a “very delicate” situation for the Vatican.

Stéfanini told the archbishop that it was not in his mandate to renounce the nomination, since it was a matter for the French government to decide.

If Stéfanini has been rejected because he is gay, it would not be the first time the Vatican has turned down an “unacceptable” candidate.

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.

A Vatican source told the Catholic News Service in 2009:

For Catholic ambassadors, there is the question of their matrimonial situation. But outside of that, I don’t think there are other criteria.

In most cases, potential ambassadors are proposed to the Vatican before a formal nomination is made, at which point objections can be aired. It is unclear whether France had cleared the Stéfanini nomination beforehand.

22 responses to “Vatican silence over gay ambassador”

  1. L.Long says:

    And the religion of love are not a bunch of hate-filled bigots??? RRRrright!

  2. TrickyDicky says:

    The French government could just save tax payers money and close their embassy in the Vatican.

    They could save even more money by cancelling their concordat with the Vatican.

  3. AgentCormac says:

    Why do we have embassies in a church anyway? It is both ridiculous and obscene that the rcc is pandered to in this way. BTW, has the vatican coughed up for Ratty’s visit to the UK in 2010 yet?

  4. Bubblecar says:

    TrickyDicky & Agent Cormac – exactly. There is no need for these absurd appointments at all. If “the vatican” wants to keep in touch with the world’s governments, it should use its own ill-gotten resources to do so. Sending taxpayer-funded representatives from democratic nations to attend the court of these pointless medieval zombies is a gratuitous insult to all citizens of secular nations.

  5. dennis says:

    @Bubblecar wish I lived in a secular nation. I use to then something happen.
    the ambassador can be a closet homosexual but if the world knows the church goes bonkers. for Mr Stefanini seems like the perfect target rich environment.

  6. Broga says:

    The RCC Church is ready enough to protect paedophile priests by moving them from parish to parish.

  7. Trevor Blake says:

    The Holy See / Vatican City is a nation. The last absolute ruler of Europe is the Bishop of Rome / the Pope. The Pope issued the (Vatican) law that clergy who rape children are to be sheltered and moved. Clergy who do so are granted diplomatic immunity as representatives of a foreign nation.

    Even I who has seen and published the evidence for years know that this looks like lunatic ravings. But it is cold fact.

  8. Atabale says:

    Thank you @Broga, i finally struck me that google is not my god, changed my setting to from English (Us) to our old colonial English. Life in the south of Africa can be slow.

  9. Missus_Gumby says:

    Perhaps Trident isn’t as useless as we have been thinking?

  10. Broga says:

    @Atabale: Thanks for commenting to me although I haven’t understood your meaning. Probably my fault as I am not very clever. Anyway, good luck.

  11. Vanity Unfair says:

    John 18: 36 Authorised Version:
    Jesus answered,” My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”

    Mind you, now that the Pope’s kingdom has usurped the founder’s kingdom they need embassies, diplomatic immunity and protection for their criminal functionaries. And a convenient memory lapse for the original intention.

  12. Marky Mark says:

    off topic but not by much. We have had posts about how religion is dieing amongst the young people of the USA…here is a young American girl on the front lines @ youtube;

    Her name is Jaclyn Glenn and in this video she talks about being discriminated against since turning atheist…she was raised catholic.

    Watch a few of her vids and give her some support…she actually has some good vids’ with good augments…and the Christians like to spam her, the good people that they are, trying to suppress anyone that does not agree with them.

    In her video about the Bill Nye, Ken Ham debate, she brought up a point about religious personalities, and how selfish their belief is…it is great.

  13. Robster says:

    “The Holy See is displeased with France’s decision to legalise same-sex marriage in 2013”. So Fuc’ing what. Why does anyone outside the catholic bubble care what this silly old man in a dress has to say about anything? What a wanker.

  14. barriejohn says:

    Robster: I was listening to the late-night review of the next day’s papers on the BBC News Channel one night over Easter, and the two reviewers (intelligent people, apparently) were virtually wetting themselves over the inane drivel spewed out by those two comedians, Frankie and Welby (“People should live together peaceably, and stop blowing one another up.”). We are all so VERY privileged, they gushed, to have the two greatest spiritual leaders that the world has ever known “guiding” us at this time, and proferring their wise counsel to one and all. It just showed how much influence religion still has in society, and how far we have to go before we are even close to shaking off its pernicious shackles.

  15. barriejohn says:

    It’s ironic that the Vatican might object to hosting a gay ambassador, whose private life is no business of anyone else’s, yet no steps have been taken by any government, to my knowledge, to prevent the placement of , or deport, priests transferred because of their paedophile activities. What a strange world we live in!

  16. Jobrag says:

    Is there anything in “the good book” that says you can’t have sex with young girls?

  17. Broga says:

    @barriejohn: I heard a few minutes of the Radio 4 Church service this morning. The bit I heard was from someone I assume was not a professional preacher but a member of the congregation invited to enlighten us.

    It was toe curdling to hear her comments about the ecstasy of knowing that Jesus had risen and how we were all (i.e. Christians) assured of eternal bliss. This drivel delivered in a sepulchral, reverential tone meant, I assume, to convey sanctity. And we pay for this.

    I also heard on the Sunday programme some religious buffoon insisting, against the experts interviewed, that homosexuality was a chosen lifestyle and could be relinquished. He was in favour of counselling etc to achieve the change. This despite medical and psychiatric opinion and the comments of gays who had endured decades of misery because of this man’s (I assume a heterosexual) opinions. The buffoon said his certainty came from the bible.

    Well, there we are. Happy start to Sunday. I think I’ll take my dog for a walk. He has no opinions on this.

  18. barriejohn says:

    Broga: What, I wonder, would that genius make of all the plants (and animals) that change sex during their lifetime (and often change back again)? Are they also “confused”, or making a “lifestyle choice”? I expect he would put any facts like these that challenge his cosy worldview down to “The Fall”, and thus refuse to deal with them. That’s their usual response.

  19. Broga says:

    barriejohn: Thanks. Interesting. As we all know on this site (well, almost all) Christians have great ability to select what fits with their faith and to ignore what doesn’t. This simplifies their life while it ensures their continuing ignorance.

  20. JohnMWhite says:

    @barriejohn and Broga

    Yes, they seem rather creative in their efforts to maintain their own ignorance and square the circle of their faith. I notice that as much as they hate homosexuals, and will absolutely not make them a cake, there are precious few Christians left who will take that book that tells them how bad it is to choose to be gay and then prescribe the treatment written there in black and white.

    It’s a good thing, of course, that there aren’t that many concerted efforts to kill homosexuals in Christendom right now, but it is rather telling when the people who say where they got their ideas. They’ll swear the notion of it being “a lifestyle choice” that people are obliged not to choose because god thinks it is icky came from the bible… then beg off when it is pointed out this same bible says the punishment deserved is death. That part wasn’t meant literally. And we know that because it’s… in the bible?

    I have come across liberal Christians lately who insist the whole thing is a misunderstanding anyway. Apparently there is nowhere in the bible where it says people should be killed if they engage in homosexual activity. That’s just bigots deliberately misconstruing things for their own purposes. What Leviticus really says (yes, they ignore that it’s not the only reference…) is that certain people who engaged in certain pagan practices that culminated in gay sex in a temple were to be put to death.

    Great. God doesn’t want us to kill gay people at all. Just gay pagans. Lovely chap, really…

  21. barriejohn says:

    JohnMWhite: Yes, those instructions were “only meant for the priests, etc”. Some have even patronisingly informed me that that’s what Leviticus means – rules for the Levites – as if I was so poorly educated that I didn’t realize that “fact” (“Speak unto Aaron, and unto his sons, and unto all the children of Israel…”). From chapter 15 onwards the instructions are quite clearly for ALL the Israelites; and the Hebrew name for the book isn’t Leviticus in any case!

  22. barriejohn says:

    Did others watch this?

    It was wonderful TV, and caused quite a storm of controversy amongst the Daily Mail readers, naturally. These wicked parents are forcing their children to demand a sex change – as if!