According to media reports, Pope Francis has refused to give his agreement to the newly appointed Ambassador of France to the Holy See, Laurent Stéfanini. Failing such agreement, Mr. Stéfanini will not be able to take up his post. Allegedly, the reason for the refusal is that the appointee is openly gay.
If this decision is maintained, it is likely to further strain the relationship between the Holy See and France. Some observers view the controversial appointment as an attempt of President François Holland, who is reknown to be a particularly radical supporter of the “gay agenda”, to “educate” the Vatican on sexual mores, while others speak of a mere provocation directed against Catholics inside France. There are rumours in some media that the civil society group “La Manif Pour Tous”, which forcefully continues opposing the newly adopted legislation providing for same-sex “marriage”, has intervened in Rome to prevent Mr. Stefanini’s appointment. However, insiders at the Vatican have clarified that the veto is “the Pope’s own personal decision”.
This is not the first time that France attempts to nominate an openly sodomite diplomat as its representative to the Holy See. Already in 2008, the Vatican was constrained to refuse the nomination of Jean-Loup Kuhn-Delforge, a diplomat living in a “civil partnership” with another man. (Same-sex “marriages” were not available then.)
The case of Mr. Stéfanini is, however, different, given that he is neither “married” nor living in a registered partnership with another man. The mere fact of experiencing homosexual inclinations should not disqualify him from serving as an Ambassador to the Holy See, as long as he does not try to use the position for provocations directed against the Church. It is likely that the problem can be solved if the French Government is able to give appropriate assurances that this is not going to happen.
If the appointment remains blocked, Mr. Stéfanini would not be the first appointee to whom the Holy See has refused to give its agreement. On the other hand, if finally he is appointed, he will not be the first controversial person to receive such an appointment. The current Ambassador of Germany to the Holy See, for example, is Anette Schavan, a former politician who, despite holding herself out as a “devout Catholic” and “expert ethicist”, played a key role in dismantling her country’s rather restrictive legislation on bioethical issues. She assumed her posting as Ambassador after having been forced to resign from her previous post as a Minister in the Federal Government under allegations of academic fraud, which also led to the annulations of her PhD degree. Besides this, Mr. Schavan is rumoured to be lesbian, although she has always denied these allegations.