A French newspaper reports that Pope Francis met France’s nominated ambassador to the Holy See, who is openly gay, and told him that the Vatican would not accept his appointment.
In a meeting over the weekend, the pontiff allegedly cited his displeasure with a controversial 2013 gay marriage law in France as part of his reason for the decision, according to the report in satirical title Le Canard Enchâiné.
Pope Francis also allegedly said he did not appreciate the manner in which France had tried to put pressure on the Vatican by nominating a man – 55-year-old Laurent Stéfanini – who French officials knew would be controversial given the church’s views on homosexuality. The Vatican declined to comment to the Guardian about the veracity of the report or whether a meeting took place.
The church’s apparent objection to Stéfanini, a practicing Catholic, has been known for weeks, ever since press reports first indicated that the Vatican was dragging its feet on the nomination because of his sexual orientation.
Article continues belowEarlier this month the French Catholic daily La Croix cited an unnamed source as saying the Vatican considered it a “provocation” that France’s Socialist government, which in 2013 legalized same-sex marriages, had proposed a gay man for the post.
Stefanini was nominated for the post on Jan. 5.