Pope met with French Vatican ambassador nominee who is considered gay

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Pope Francis angered Turkey by calling the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians a genocide.  Photo by Paul Haring, courtesy of Catholic News Service

Pope Francis angered Turkey by calling the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians a genocide. Photo by Paul Haring, courtesy of Catholic News Service

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PARIS (Reuters) Paris nominated the government's head of protocol, Laurent Stefanini, for the post on Jan. 5 but has still not heard back from the Vatican -- a delay that French and Italian media have said is due to his homosexuality.

  • James Carr

    This is clearly a provocation on the part of France to incite a reaction from the Catholic Church. The Ambassador is described as Gay, not an expert on Vatican affairs, not a Catholic, not a diplomatic genius on State/Religion relations…..but just Gay. He may be all of the above, but who would know? Rome should delay the appointment without a word, let France offer another candidate.

  • samuel Johnston

    This is just one more reason why the Vatican should not be recognized as a state.
    Ronald Reagan changed American policy of long standing when he did so. We should revert to our former position.

  • Ted

    Yes, as good “Christians” the Vatican representatives should simply spit in his face and have him beaten by the Swiss Guard, just like Jesus said.

    Oh wait, that’s right. The Gospel of Jesus Christ says nothing against homosexuals. Not one word. All the anti-gay bigotry is rooted in selective human proof texting and biased exegesis.

  • James Carr

    But it is a State, a Country in its own right. Gay marriage should not be recognized as legal, because it does not meet the criteria of the married state. Who needs a French Ambassador anyway? Close their Embassy down.

  • opheliart
  • opheliart

    James C,
    “its own country”
    then we are back to the same old arguments on how much power should the Roman Catholic State have in America … and elsewhere?

  • Francis is no different towards gay people than any other Pope. In actions he has been as antagonistic as his predecessor. However, I have a theory:

    Should Benedict predecease Francis then Francis might make some material changes. However, as long as Ratzinger is alive the Church will remain the world’s center of homophobia.

  • In the USA the Church should have NO power whatsoever. It is not content to have adherents follow its teachings. They seek to impose those teachings on everyone else through civil law. That is unacceptable.

  • samuel Johnston

    Hi James,
    Yes it is a state, parading as a religion.Such notions belong to the Middle Ages, not to our modern world, especially not to the multi-cultural democratic world.
    In the fall, I was in Rome and visited the Vatican (did not meet with the Pope).
    Rome is as secular a city as is Washington, Paris, or London. The authoritarian manner of the Vatican is even out of step with the Italian capitol, where there are few clergy visible on the streets. I attended Sunday morning mass in Florence, and observed that the attendance consisted of six tourists and about a dozen white hared old ladies, all of us lost in the vast space of that huge old cathedral. Illustrative of the Church going out of business in its country of origin.

  • Doc Anthony

    The ambassador that France decides to appoint to the Vatican, is really France’s own decision. Apparently Pope Francis sees it that way too.

    But that’s not the real question. France is France, after all. What I’m more concerned with, is what Pope Francis is going to do with America.

    America is currently involved in an unprecedented historic battle over legalized gay marriage that promises to change this nation’s entire destiny — and change it very much for the WORSE, if it is legalized coast-to-coast-no-exceptions, as is expected.

    Pope Francis has a LOT of media power and broad cultural popularity right now. If he were to come to his big Philly gig (and later Congress), and really speak up, and peacefully take a STRONG PUBLIC STAND against legalizing gay marriage, he could at least make a real dent, a BIG difference in America’s situation (even if it’s too late to do anything about the Supreme Court.)

    But will he? If (likely) not, then……

  • James Carr

    That’s good, and he may be worthy of the Ambassador title to Rome. The singling out of his sexuality by the media, coupled with his nomination to the Vatican post sounds like a set up for unnecessary fireworks. The press will twist the Pope’s acceptance of him as a softening on the gay question, the Pope’s refusal would label him a homophobic Christian. Someone else in all of France must be available.

  • James Carr

    Vatican City has no power in the governance of America. But just as England, France, or Germany try to influence American policy, the Vatican does too. Vatican City is the residence of the head of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, and their obedience to the Pope on matters of faith and morals naturally influences their allegiance to American laws. Abortion is legal in the US, but it is a law that does not have to be obeyed. To Catholics it is a grave moral error, and no Catholic should seek one, support one, or endorse any law protecting it.
    It is the quagmire we are in now with legalizing gay marriage. “Render unto Caesar the things……….”

  • James Carr

    Homophobia is not a bad thing, and don’t think Francis I will change anything of foundational belief….. Popes do not act on their own policies or ideas, they are guardians of God’s established truth.

  • James Carr

    It’s true that European Catholic practice is way lower than the US, or anywhere. Perhaps because of the centuries of political battles between the growing Nations and the Ruling Church have soured people on Rome’s influence, I don’t know….it is sad, though. But faith also has a history of earnest participation and gross indifference……wait til the next crisis in any European country, the churches will be SRO. In any event, the Church does not exist to please its members, but to keep alive the Truth despite popular acceptance of it.

  • James Carr

    I would love the Pope to speak bluntly on the Catholic view of gay marriage, and there is no reason he shouldn’t because his denouncement of it should not surprise even the dumbest person on earth. Will he? If he does, he will most likely soften the truth with the message of loving the gays and not judging their sin since we are all sinners.
    Catholic schools, under the Pope’s umbrella, will also denounce gay marriage as a sinful aberration of a Sacrament as a part of the religious curriculum. What happens when the kids become troubled over double messages? Will the government order Catholic schools to stop teaching discrimination? I wonder…….

  • James Carr

    There is no Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • opheliart

    James C> “That’s good, and he may be worthy of the Ambassador title to Rome. The singling out of his sexuality by the media, coupled with his nomination to the Vatican post sounds like a set up for unnecessary fireworks. The press will twist the Pope’s acceptance of him as a softening on the gay question, the Pope’s refusal would label him a homophobic Christian. Someone else in all of France must be available.”
    *******
    You do have a point. It would be like someone advertising you as a heterosexual male for the position as Ambassador 😀

    In addition … One of things I hear some say (particularly in areas where ssm is not an issue) … “What would people think if we had a straight pride parade?” Of course they understand the need for awareness on equality and how the parade started, and they would never have a straight pride parade, but the “pride” part they feel is overstated.

  • Larry

    The French government hasn’t had this much fun at the expense of the clergy since the days of Robespierre! 🙂

  • James Carr

    Agree.

  • James Carr

    They are still angry the Papal court left Avignon.

  • samuel Johnston

    James,
    “Church does not exist to please its members, but to keep alive the Truth”
    Persons who claim to have, or represent, the “Truth” are dangerous, because they cannot concede that they may be in error. They cannot progress and learn better “truths” or alternative “truths” or contradictory “truths”.
    “Two gods in one, three gods in one, four gods in one. Just tell us how many gods in one there are, so we can go out and play.” (A.L.)

  • bqrq

    Latest news is that France’s gay ambassador to the Vatican has been officially rejected. Thanks Pope Francis for doing the right thing.

  • Mel

    Funny how “God’s established truth” keeps changing…

    And no, James, homophobia is just plain wrong. Get over your hate already.

  • opheliart

    Yes, and the members (citizens) of the Roman Catholic State are not permitted to vote for their leaders.

  • opheliart

    bqrq,

    Does your source say exactly why Laurent was rejected?

  • James Carr

    It is not a democracy.

  • James Carr

    Miley, simmer down. Homophobia is no different than claustrophobia, or agoraphobia. People suffer from it whether you like it or not. They live in dire fear of making a slip of the tongue that a gay would interpret as discrimination and sue them or destroy their lives. They avoid Christmas Carols with the word gay in them, they add Judy Garland and Bette Midler to every list of people they admire, and have an Oscar Wilde book on display at home at all times. So stop bashing them, they have rights, too !

  • James Carr

    Sammy, Catholicism HAS the truth and that does make it dangerous. As much as society reinvents itself every century or so, it always has to contend with the immovable, infallible Truth sealed some 2,000 years ago.
    The Church is blessed with freedom from error on all matters of faith and morals, and society wants so bad to shame it into changing, when it
    can not. Its Truth is for all Ages, not just 1st
    Century mentalities…….and that’s the part that
    enrages the enligtened geniuses each century produces. Oh well, live with the battle, man.

  • ben in oakland

    Well, when you’ve been told you cause the downfall of empires, are lower than the lowest trash, are a threat to marriage, family, children, faith, family, and Western civilization, are the most disgusting pieces of human garbage around, incapable of love or commitment or honor, hate god and morality and humanity, are no better than murderers, thieves, and kidnappers, are child molesters or worse, are an enemy of god, and on and on and on and on….

    when not one word of it is true….

    you might tend to take exception to it, and perhaps react far more strongly then some people think you ought.

  • ben in oakland

    Before being considered for the position Stefani acted as chief of protocol to François Hollande. He had also previously served in a senior role within France’s Vatican embassy, though not as its official ambassador.

    so much for “who am I to judge?”

  • samuel Johnston

    Looks like I hit a nerve. I might add that the Church is notorious for refusing to be candid about its history. and the variety of truths it has maintained over the centuries. Try “Variations of Popery” by Samuel Edgar D.D.
    (pub. 1855 for the Methodist E. Church South)

  • Greg

    The Vatican has been established as its own State because it does not want to be duly influenced by any government. As a nearly 2000 year old institution, the Church has experienced a wide range of societies; she has provided moral guidance in every age, instituted charitable institutions, learning institutions, places of worship, all from God, for the common good. All societies go through cycles, ranging from prosperity to destitution. Societies also experience moral cycles, ranging from amoral atheism, to God-centered just cultures. The Church has seen it all, has been a factor in all, and we can see where things are currently going. Interesting quote from Cardinal George: “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.” Sadly, that is prophetic.

  • Diogenes

    I have not noted a spirit in the Pope that is commensurate with his predecessor, Perhaps I’m naïve but I think it unlikely that the Vatican is stalling over the proposed nominee’s sexual preference.

  • James Carr

    A Methodist book on “Popery”….? I don’t think so.

  • opheliart

    Ben, you say: Well, when you’ve been told you cause the downfall of empires, are lower than the lowest trash, are a threat to marriage, family, children, faith, family, and Western civilization, are the most disgusting pieces of human garbage around, incapable of love or commitment or honor, hate god and morality and humanity, are no better than murderers, thieves, and kidnappers, are child molesters or worse, are an enemy of god, and on and on and on and on….

    Kind of like how Eve was responsible because she bit the apple? 🙂 Prove these accusations incorrect is what I say. People will use every means imaginable to accuse and condemn what they don’t understand—fear. We all know the statistics out on marriages/parenting is all over the place with heterosexuals … so … This is an opportunity for a community of people to demonstrate commonality, and shared struggles, as all struggle. I once spoke on Pride of Institution to RCs. We don’t need to educate you on this 🙁
    Educate.

  • opheliart

    Also, I live in MA.

    One of the sayings in Northampton (near where I live):

    Where the coffee is strong but the women are stronger 😀

    Now that I think about it, MA has had ssm since 2004—it would seem that parenting studies should be done here in MA.

  • Ben in oakland

    I have been educating people on this subject for more than 40 years. I hold my self to very high standards of facts, logic, and experience. But as you know, there are none so blind as those who will not see.

    I post here at RNS, because I know there are many people who read the articles and comments, but don’t comment themselves. Those people, I expect to reach, and I know I have. I don’t write to reach the unrepentant bigots. But as you know, there are none so blind as those who will not see.

  • opheliart

    Theology, Ben … some are completely immune to the idea they might be a bigot. Their Theology instructs them otherwise. This is the age old dilemma. Look at Thomas More; he believed himself correct without jurisdiction. Jurisdiction needed to be created to expel his Theories. It may not have been ideal, or even just, but it was necessary (the hope is always that it will be honest and just but …). They only see the flaw (the plank) in why Henry wanted a divorce: lust-selfish reasons. To them, this goes against their beliefs … not the greater need of change because of something more disturbing. It’s like this: How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests … Matt. 12.4
    Create jurisdiction through advocacy.

  • Larry

    Untrue. You really have to crack open a history book once in a blue moon.

    The Papal state is solely the Vatican City because they lost their holdings elsewhere. For many centuries they existed as an actual nation with mundane tangible political power (and even its own military).

    They used to control vast swaths of Italy through direct rule. All of them besides the Vatican were taken away by the Holy Roman Empire, Austrian Empire and later the formation of the Italian nation-state. The Papacy military existed until the 19th Century and fought against Italian nationalists like Garibaldi.

    The Vatican as you know it Greg, did not exist until 1929 with the Lateran Treaty.

  • opheliart

    What better way to “kick ass” than to know the game of the old mule.

  • Heather

    Sorry Ted once again I meet a person illiterate on Biblical Scripture. Jesus states I am in the Father and the Father is in Me…No one goes to the Father except through Me. Jesus also states “I have not come to abolish the law but to uphold the law” Now Ted try to connect the dots, I know its difficult for liberals like you that suffer from brain strain but think for a moment, what law was Jesus referring to, I know its difficult for you but try….They you go, the Laws of Leviticus and whats in the laws of Leviticus oh yes man should not lay with man nor woman with woman for it is an ABOMINATION to The Lord YOUR God,

    There you go Ted good boy I know you could come with the correct answer if you tried

    You see Ted he did not have to mention it directly because His Heavenly Father already did…crystal clear by the way.

    Ted you may also want to read about Saint Catherine of Sienna and her conversation with Jesus.

  • Larry

    Already done
    https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/American-Academy-of-Pediatrics-Supports-Same-Gender-Civil-Marriage.aspx

    “…In fact, many studies attest to the normal development of children of same-gender couples when the child is wanted, the parents have a commitment to shared parenting, and the parents have strong social and economic support. Critical factors that affect the normal development and mental health of children are parental stress, economic and social stability, community resources, discrimination, and children’s exposure to toxic stressors at home or in their communities — not the sexual orientation of their parents.”

    According to the policy statement, the AAP “supports pediatricians advocating for public policies that help all children and their parents, regardless of sexual orientation, build and maintain strong, stable, and healthy

  • James Carr

    What theory is this supposed to be? Just what was Henry VIII’s reason to break from Rome, then? Only 10 years earlier he was awarded the papal honor of Guardian of the Faith for his writings on the Ten Commandments, and he was virulently against the Protestant Reformation.
    And just what necessary changes was
    Thomas More fighting off in regards to Religion? He was as faithful as an Apostle…. unto death.
    And only religious people are blind bigots? Is refusing to accept something bigotry? I hope not. Is refusing to deal with certain people always discrimination? I wouldn’t hang out with the Hell’s Angels.
    So I’m totally confused by your concept of God, Religion, Faith, Truth, etc.

  • Larry

    “Just what was Henry VIII’s reason to break from Rome, then? ”

    To get divorced, marry someone else and produce a male heir. Jeez, how do you not know that?

    Look up anything about Henry VIII, even the Charles Laughton movie version will tell you that one.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Private_Life_of_Henry_VIII

    Thomas More was acting on behalf of the Holy Roman Empire (The most powerful nation in Europe at the time). He thought the might of Charles V and his Pope hostage would intimidate the British Crown into reconsidering such a decision. Like many an ill-fated political leader, he chose the wrong side.

  • James Carr

    Trying reading an authorized history book. Thomas More was loyal to his Faith and his Pope. Henry VIII wanted to be rid of his lawful wife, Catherine, to justify his lust for Boleyn.
    I suppose he thought the Pope would indulge his friend, but the Pope could not be duped by such an obvious permit for adultery. What message would that send to the Faithful? The King thus crowned himself the king of his self indulgent “church” and threatened death to all who rejected him. More chose death over one man’s folly.

  • Larry

    As Ted said “selective human proof texting and biased exegesis’

    You are trying to find the message between the lines because an explicit one is just not there. Like many attempts by conservative Christians to avoid or ignore such explicit rules such as “love thy neighbor” and “judge not lest ye be judged”, you have to bend over backwards and contort the text to fit your agenda.

  • Samuel Johnston

    I understand your skepticism. The Methodist Church has not always been the intellectual joke that it is today. In any event, they merely re-published the particular edition that I have. Dr. Edgar was an Irishman. His book was dedicated to “his Grace the Lord Archbishop of Armagh, Primate and Metropolitan of All Ireland.”
    “This work is designed to employ against popery, the argument which the celebrated Bossuet wielded with ingenuity, but without success against Protestantism.” The book was published prior to the adoption of the doctrine of Infallibility, and mainly attacks the logic that proposition.

  • Larry

    Authorized by whom, The Catholic Apologia Department?

    All reliable and credible texts on the subject point to Henry VIII’s desire for a male heir. Several dead and divorced wives, after the split with the Catholic Church, who were unable to produce one, attest to that. Your shamefully obvious ignorance and dogmatic belief in light of easily verifiable facts renders me nearly speechless.

    What you seem to forget is that the Pope granted royal divorces in the past for the very reason Henry wanted one. Catherine of Aragon was a bit long in the tooth and way past child bearing age. If Henry wanted a male heir, she would have to go.

    The only reason they didn’t in this case is the Pope’s captor was the nephew of Henry’s wife, Charles V. The man who sacked Rome and held the Pope hostage. Charles did not want to lose family connections to the British crown. There was no moral decision here by the Vatican. The Pope was being held captive and complied with his abductors.

  • Diogenes

    No question that Popes have a history of trimming their sails to the current political wind; point taken. On the other hand, Thomas More is to be commended for remaining true to his personal principles, whether informed by the Bible, the Roman Church of which he was a member, or a personal sense of justice and integrity.

  • Greg

    Larry, I am well aware of the Papal States, and the history; I am only stating the present position of the Vatican, and its avoidance of political pressures from the government in which it resides. That said, I believe a just accord was struck, giving the Church much freedom throughout all of Italy, including the education of children, although much of it was reversed in the 1980’s, making the 1929 Treaty uniquely providential (the Church does not need to be entangled with any government).

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  • Larry

    More’s personal principles being backing a more powerful opponent and underestimating the monarch he was supposed to be loyal to. More simply sided with the party he thought would succeed and miscalculated.

    I am sure plenty of Catholic apologists like to pretend the Pope’s decision not to grant annulment had anything to do with morals or principles. But then again honest presentation of history is not really their strong suit.