Vatican City / Laurent Stefanini
The French government has finally given up on its efforts to convince the Vatican to accept its openly gay ambassador.
In January 2015, highly respected senior diplomat Laurent Stefanini was selected by France to represent the country at the Holy See.
Shamefully, the Vatican refused to accept his appointment, reportedly because Stefanini is gay. France’s move was apparently seen as a “provocation” by the church.
The French government confirmed at the time that it was in negotiations with the Vatican on the issue.
Now, more than a year later, France has had no option but to accept the Church’s stubborn refusal to recognise the diplomat.
It was revealed on Wednesday that Stefanini has a new job; he’s been appointed as France’s ambassador to Unesco, the UN cultural agency.
The French and Italian media reported last year that Pope Francis himself was behind the decision to block Stefani from taking the Vatican post.
While the pontiff has worked to cultivate a more accepting image towards gays and lesbians than his predecessors, in reality he has done little to actually change the Church’s homophobic policies.
In 2007, the Vatican rejected the ambassadorship of gay French diplomat Jean-Loup Kuhn-Delforge, leading France to put forward another candidate.