Three months after appointing an openly gay diplomat as France’s ambassador to the Vatican, Paris is still waiting for the green light from Rome.
While the Vatican usually declares it has accepted a candidate around a month after an appointment is made, it makes no public statements at all if the answer is no.
Paris appears determined to stick with seasoned candidate Laurent Stefanini, a 55-year-old practising Catholic whom the foreign ministry described as “one of our best diplomats”.
“That’s why we appointed him. We are waiting for a reply to our request,” it said.
Sources close to President Francois Hollande said his appointment was “the wish of the president” and the cabinet of ministers.
The French cabinet approved Stefanini’s appointment on January 5 but has not yet received a reply.
“A delay of three months like this is not normal,” a well-informed source in Rome told AFP.
“Homosexual people are rejected in the Vatican, despite their merits (and) indisputable qualities,” said Flavio Romani, who heads the Italian gay rights group Arcigay.
Accusing the Holy See of failing to implement its “teachings of openness”, he blasted the Vatican as acting “like Uganda”, where gays are unwanted.