French officials are choosing to send no one to the Vatican represent France, rather than try to convince the Holy See to accept a gay Catholic diplomat as its ambassador, following an impasse that began earlier this year, according to reports in the French news media cited by U.K. newspaper, The Guardian.
Although Laurent Stefanini was second in command of the Vatican embassy a decade ago, and is widely respected as President Francois Hollande's chief of protocol, his credentials were not accepted by the Vatican after his appointment in January. As The Advocate previously reported, Stefanini was reportedly rejected by Pope Francis himself. Notably, his nomination as ambassador was supported by the archbishop of Paris.
Normally, the credentialing process takes no more than a few weeks, and the Vatican never explicitly rejected Stefanini's appointment.
But according to Liberation, "It's dead," says a sources at the Elysee palace, telling the newspaper Hollande has given up his efforts to push through the appointment.
Both Elysee and Vatican officials declined to comment on the reports.
According to Liberation, Hollande has decided to leave the post vacant and not submit another candidate before the next French presidential election in 2017.
This is the latest gay rights issue to involve the Catholic Church. In recent weeks, Pope Francis has bolstered the conservative Catholic cause by meeting antigay Kentucky clerk Kim Davis during his visit to the U.S. -- even though the Vatican later downplayed the meeting's significance and accused Davis of "exploiting" the Pope -- and the Vatican fired a priest who came out as gay just before the start of its three-week summit on family issues.