The Slatest

Pope Reportedly Rejects Gay French Ambassador to Vatican

Laurent Stefanini, far right, shaking hands with French president Francois Hollande in 2012.

Bertrand Langlois/AFP/Getty

Though he has expressed liberal positions on economic issues and used welcoming language when speaking in generalities about LGBT individuals, Pope Francis’ actual positions on LGBT rights have stayed in line with the Catholic church’s historically conservative doctrines. More evidence of this conservatism: French publications are reporting that the Vatican is refusing to accept a new French ambassador, Laurent Stefanini, because he is gay. Stefanini was nominated in early January, writes, and the Vatican has yet to respond:

Normally a new ambassador’s credentials are accepted within a month and a half. The Vatican does not usually explicitly refuse an envoy’s credentials, but a prolonged silence after a nomination is interpreted as a rejection … French media widely reported that the apparent rejection by the Vatican was because of Stefanini’s homosexuality.

Le Journal du Dimanche quoted a Vatican insider as saying that the rejection was “a decision taken by the pope himself.”

Stefanini’s nomination is supported by two high-profile French cardinals, TheLocal says. France also unsuccessfully nominated a gay man as Vatican ambassador in 2007 under Pope Benedict. (French ambassadorial candidates who were divorced and Protestant were also reportedly rejected at the time.)