France will not name new ambassador to the Holy See after nomination stalemate
October 12, 2015
The French government has chosen not to name a new ambassador to the Holy See, after the Vatican declined to accept the nomination of Laurent Stefanini.
The government of France put forward Stefanini’s name in January. The Vatican did not formally respond, but after weeks of silence it became evident that the Holy See did not approve the nomination. (Under ordinary diplomatic protocol, a country is not required to accept an ambassador, and no explanation is required.) Nevertheless Francis refused to withdraw Stefanini’s name
Media reports in France suggested that the nomination was not approved because Stefanini is homosexual. But the Stetanini has never identified himself as homosexual causes, nor has he been seen in public with a partner. The reports on his sexual preference apparently were published by political enemies in France.
In a highly unusual move, Pope Francis met privately with Stefanini in April, and Vatican officials continued to talk with their French counterparts in an effort to end the stalemate.
However, French President Francois Hollande has now reportedly said that his government will not put forward another name, meaning that France will not have an accredited ambassador at the Holy See until the government’s mandate ends in 2017. French interests at the Holy See will be managed by the current charge d’affaires, Francois-Xavier Tillette.
For all current news, visit our News home page.
- Ambasciatore gay in Vaticano, la sfida di Parigi: "Sede vacante" (Repubblica)
- France, Vatican still discussing ambassador's nomination (CWN, 5/26)
All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!