Vatican mum over gay French diplomat

2015-04-11 13:25
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Vatican City - France is still waiitng for the green light from Rome, three months after appointing an openly gay diplomat as France's ambassador to the Vatican.

With Pope Francis entering his third year in the post, some activists see the Vatican's silence as a test of the depth of reform in the Catholic Church.

Candidate

While the Vatican usually declares it has accepted a candidate around a month after an appointment is made, it makes no public statements at all if the answer is no.

Paris appears determined to stick with seasoned candidate Laurent Stefanini, a 55-year-old practising Catholic whom the foreign ministry described as "one of our best diplomats.

"That's why we appointed him. We're waiting for a reply to our request," it said.

Sources close to President Francois Hollande said his appointment was "the wish of the president" and the cabinet of ministers.

The French cabinet approved Stefanini's appointment on 5 January but has not yet received a reply.

"A delay of three months like this is not normal," a well-informed source said in Rome.

Discretion

In 2007, France proposed openly gay diplomat Jean-Loup Kuhn-Delforge to be its ambassador at the Vatican. Paris never received a reply and it eventually put forward another nominee.

But unlike Kuhn-Delforge, Stefanini is single and is very discreet about his personal life. Italian daily Il Messagero described him as "a practising Catholic, very cultivated, of absolute discretion".

From 2001 to 2005, he served as the number two at the French embassy in the Vatican.


Read more on:    vatican city  |  gay rights

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