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After months of radio silence from the church, Pope Francis has met with Laurent Stefanini, France’s openly gay nominee to serve as its ambassador to the Vatican. Up to this point the Vatican had flatly refused to comment on Stefani, who was confirmed for the position by the French government soon after he was nominated. The Church’s decision to drag its heels not only held up Stefani’s full confirmation, but it also sent the message that it wasn’t likely to accept him as an ambassador. The Vatican resorted to similar tactics in 2007 when it implicitly rejected Jean-Loup Kuhn-Delforge, another openly gay potential ambassador from France.
"There was a meeting between the Pope and Mr Stefanini," government rep Stephane Le Foll said in a meeting earlier today. "Nothing has changed: France has proposed a candidate and for the time being we are waiting for the Vatican's reply after the usual discussions and review of his candidacy."
News of the meeting between the Pope and Stefani was first reported in Le Canard Enchaine, a satirical French newspaper. The paper also added that during the meeting it was decided that Stefani would not be confirmed as ambassador, something that Le Foll denied during today’s briefing. Vatican officials similarly insisted that no decision has yet been made.
Archbishop of Guam Calls Homosexuality 'Intrinsically Moral Evil' as Governor Continues His Gay Marriage Stonewall
Anthony Apuron, the Archbishop of Guam, has finally broken his silence and expressed his views on Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson’s recent assertion that Guam’s public servants cannot reject marriage applications submitted by same-sex couples. Apuron laid out his official stance in Umantuna Si Yu’os, the newsletter of a local archdiocese insisting that an acceptance of homosexuality was fundamentally antithetical to his Catholic beliefs. Apuron describes the very concept of being gay as an “intrinsically moral evil” and insists that the only way to deal with homosexuality on a wide scale is to think of it as a disorder to be treated.
At the core of Apuron’s beliefs is the contention that marriage and family, instead of the law, exist as the focal point of modern society. Allowing gays to marry, he argues, would fundamentally alter the definition of marriage and subsequently pose a significant threat to people on a large scale.
“[LGBT-supporters] are trying to shift the problem only to the religious sphere but that is not the case here,” Apuron said in an interview he gave to the AP that he republished in the newsletter. “Same-sex marriage is not only against the faith, but goes against Right Reason that pursues the common good of society, and is an anthropological reduction.”
“Scripture is very clear when it says: God created male and female. There are anthropological, physical, and psychological differences that allows a complimentary unity. The sexual differences have a meaning; sexuality is not only biological but personal; it carries a language.
The body has a language, has grammar, has a synthesis, a truth. Man and woman are called to communion to complement each other, what St. John Paul II called: Communion of Persons. Same-sex unions, completely and totally breaks these meanings, destroys the language, and only generates anthropological, juridical and ethical confusion.”
In other Guam news, Gov. Eddie Calvo is continuing to hedge on the issue of same-sex marriage despite the attorney general's legal memorandum. This has led Lambda Legal to issue a press release stating “Let us be clear: Every same–sex couple in the states that form part of the Ninth Circuit can marry and have been able to do so for months."
Irish Government Says No to Religious Groups' Call For 'Conscience Clause' In Marriage Referendum: VIDEO
A collection of Irish religious groups has sent a petition to Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald seeking a “conscience clause” that would allow for a right to discriminate if next month’s marriage equality referendum passes, reports the Independent.
Citing recent controversies where businesses have been brought to court for refusing to provide services to gay people, the group has asked Fitzgerald to “ensure the referendum guarantee equality for all”.
Dr. Ali Selim, from the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland, said:
“If we are having this referendum on the firm belief of equality then also we should allow people with consciences objections as well. What we are asking for is that we are not forced to endorse a practice that is in conflict with our fate. It is the freedom of choice not to have views imposed on our religious beliefs.”
Petitioners state that they disagree strongly with the proposed constitutional changes and warn that if passed, it would discriminate against people opposed to same-sex marriage for religious reasons who “risk prosecution” because of their personal beliefs.
Speaking on national radio broadcaster Newstalk, Selim said:
“Who decides what discrimination is? Of course decisions should be made in light of Irish law – but if Irish law says you’ve got to endorse something against your beliefs that is discrimination. And that is exactly why we are campaigning – so that there is equality for all, not just for certain people.”
Earlier in the week, Selim said “no Muslim would vote yes” in the referendum.
Listen to Selim threaten legal action against Irish media outlets, AFTER THE JUMP...
A March Irish Times poll found that 74 percent of the electorate intend to vote in favor of same-sex marriage.
In January the French government nominated Laurent Stefani, an openly gay man, to serve as France’s ambassador to the Vatican. 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.
Stefani’s nomination was swiftly confirmed by the French cabinet on January 5th, but his official appointment has been held up by a slow to respond Vatican. Typically this confirmation process takes about a month or so to complete. In the three months since Stefani’s appointment, the Vatican has yet to acknowledge France’s decision, a move that many are interpreting as an implicit rejection of the ambassador’s credentials. It’s believed that the Vatican is stonewalling Stefani because of his sexuality.
"France has chosen its ambassador to the Vatican,” affirmed Stephane Le Foll, a governmental spokesperson. “This choice was Stefanini and that remains the French proposal."
Stefani is the second openly gay ambassador the French government has attempted to appoint as its representation to the Vatican. In 2007 the Vatican rejected Jean-Loup Kuhn-Delforge (pictured right) another gay would-be ambassador, in a similar fashion by flat out refusing to recognize his appointment. After months of radio silence the French cabinet was forced to put forth a straight alternate who was later accepted by the Vatican. The French government has not announced whether it intends to select an alternate this time around.
Mary McAleese, the former President of Ireland and a vocal supporter of LGBT rights, has opened up a new can of worms by announcing her support for the marriage equality referendum which is due to take place next month.
Speaking on national radio broadcaster Newstalk, McAleese (above) said:
“I’m hoping very much...that it will be passed. We believe it to be a human rights issue.
“We’ve been watching with great interest the debate as it’s been evolving in Ireland and the concerns that people have in and around it. We’ve been thinking about it for a very long time, a very, very long time, and contemplating it for a long time.
“People have been saying it’s about children – it’s about Ireland’s gay children and about their future and about the kind of future we want for Ireland. We want, in the words of the proclamation: ‘The children of a nation to be cherished equally’.
“The adult children, the children yet unborn, the gay children yet unborn – we want them to be born into a world where if they fall in love with someone they can express that love fully.”
Iona Institute mouthpiece, Irish Times columnist and teacher Breda O’Brien (right) appeared on Newstalk’s Breakfast on Tuesday to take umbrage with McAleese’s comments.
O’Brien - officially and legally not homophobic - said that same-sex marriage is not a human rights issue and called for McAleese to clarify her comments:
”Mary McAleese has departed from the precedence set by [former Presidents] Mary Robinson and...President Hillery by intervening directly in matters of Irish policy.
“I presume she has a very good reason for doing but I would like to call on her to clarify exactly what she meant in the implication that people who vote no are part of the architecture of homophobia."
However, after being challenged by presenter Chris O’Donoghue, O’Brien said:
“I accept that she did not say directly that people who vote no are part of the architecture of homophobia, I would like her to remove any implication that that is the case.”
On @NewstalkFM, Breda O'Brien invented quote for MMcAleese, misrepped her position,apologised,then asked MMA to clarify having not said it.— John Boyne (@john_boyne) April 14, 2015
O’Brien found some Twitter support in the form of fellow non-homophobe, Iona Institute member and self-appointed moral arbiter for Ireland David Quinn.
Horrible stuff on twitter today about Breda O'Brien. #MarRef— David Quinn (@DavQuinn) April 14, 2015
Last weekend, non-homophobe O’Brien weighed in on the Memories Pizza controversy in Indiana, claiming “there is no equality in this controversy, just little people desperately scrabbling to defend themselves against a machine that paints them as homophobic, bigoted and functionally equivalent to racists.”
In 2012, McAleese said gay people are “as entitled to live their lives on their own terms, as I do as a heterosexual.”