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Pope Francis Meets With France's Openly Gay Nominee for Ambassador To The Vatican

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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.

France Defends Its Openly Gay Ambassador to the Vatican


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.

Catholics Call for Pope Francis to Oust Anti-Gay SF Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone in Full Page Ad


SF Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has a long and continuing history of demonizing gays.

In February, we reported on a new "purity test" he had instituted for Catholic schools which threatened termination for teachers who give any statement that contradicts church doctrine, including holding a position that homosexuality is anything other than "gravely evil."

Cordileone's new rules even applied to sharing photos and personal opinions on social media sites like Facebook. For instance, if a teacher posted photos on Facebook of a gay son's wedding, that would be cause for review.

Vigils have been held against the evil archbishop.

But Cordileone's crusade against gays goes back much further.

He attended the National Organization for Marriage's hate march with Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee because, he said "love is the answer". He spoke out against marriage equality when it began to pass in several states, calling it a "serious injustice" and warned Catholics against attending same-sex weddings.

And perhaps worst of all, Cordileone was also a central strategist in the campaign to pass Proposition 8 in California.

Cordileone_adAnd he's been arrested for driving drunk.

Now, more than 100 prominent Roman Catholic donors and church members are calling for Pope Francis to replace Cordileone, the SF Chronicle reports:

In their open letter to the pope, Cordileone’s critics say his morality-clause push is mean-spirited and “sets a pastoral tone that is closer to persecution than evangelization.”

The ad drew swift condemnation from the archdiocese, which said those who signed it don’t speak for San Francisco’s Catholic community.

The list of signatories includes Brian Cahill, the retired executive director of Catholic Charities, former city commissioner and Boudin Bakery executive Lou Giraudo, retired Swinerton Builders Chairman David Grubb, businessman and former political consultant Clint Reilly and his wife, Janet, San Francisco attorney Michael Kelly, and Charles Geschke, chairman of Adobe Systems and former head of the University of San Francisco Board of Trustees. Also on the list is Tom Brady Sr., father of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

The letter accuses Cordileone of marginalizing women in the church, disregarding advice from fellow priests in favor of outside advisers, having a "single-issue agenda" against gay marriage, going in an opposite direction from the Pope, causing discord with youth, and much more.

Still, Cordileone wants to attend this year's NOM hate march again.

With all luck, he'll be out of San Francisco before that.

Vatican, Pope Said to Block French Ambassador Candidate to Holy See Because He's Gay

The Vatican is blocking the approval of Laurent Stéfanini as French Ambassador to the Holy See, and most suspect it is because he is gay, the Guardian reports:

StefaniniStéfanini, a 55-year-old practising Catholic, has been described in the Italian press as an exemplary candidate and a man of “exceptional culture”. He is a senior diplomat and chief of protocol in the French government of François Hollande.

His nomination was put forward in January but the Vatican has not responded, usually an indication that the potential ambassador has been rejected. Reports in the French and Italian press suggested the decision was clearly connected to Stéfanini being gay.

The endless stalling is seen as a sign that the candidate has been rejected.

The Washington Post adds:

The rumors about the meaning of the Vatican’s apparent non-response to the appointment seem to stem from a report in “Le Journal du Dimanche.”The report, citing an unnamed Vatican insider, alleges that a decision to essentially freeze the application came from the “pope himself.”

No matter what’s going on privately at the Vatican over the appointment, the decision to appoint an openly-gay ambassador to the Vatican (even one as experienced in Paris-Vatican diplomacy as Stéfanini) was interpreted by some Vatican watchers as both a provocation and a challenge to the Vatican by the French government.

The Vatican has yet to comment.

Cardinal Raymond Burke Compares Murder To 'Evil' Homosexuality: VIDEO


In an interview with LifeSite, Catholic troll Cardinal Raymond Burke has compared homosexuality and divorced Catholics with murderers, Right Wing Watch reports.

Burke, who is well known for his anti-gay views, recently claimed that women are responsible for the woes of the Catholic Church.

During the interview, in which he insisted that his church should refuse to budge on their anti-equality rhetoric, Burke suggested that gay and remarried Catholics are not all that different from “the person who murders someone and yet is kind to other people.”

Watch a video in which Burke explains why discriminating against gay people is "perfectly good and just," AFTER THE JUMP...

Last November, Pope Francis removed Burke from his position as head of the Vatican's "Supreme Court."

Continue reading "Cardinal Raymond Burke Compares Murder To 'Evil' Homosexuality: VIDEO" »

Pope Francis Dines With LGBT Inmates In An Italian Prison: VIDEO


Pope Francis continued to set himself apart from his Papal predecessors this past weekend by paying a visit to a prison in Naples. In an effort to further reach out to the public and reorient the the Church’s focus, Francis joined some 90 inmates for a lunch gathering prepared by the convicts themselves. The inmates were selected via a raffle from a pool of nearly 2,000 people including inmates from the prison’s specialized ward for LGBT identified persons and those battling HIV/AIDS.

Francis’s choice to break bread with members of Italy’s queer population is the latest in a long line of somewhat mixed messages the newest Pope has shared about the Catholic Church’s shifting stance on LGBT equality. While Francis has repeatedly fallen back on the Church’s traditionally negative views regarding gays and marriage equality, he’s also alluded to having a somewhat more even-keeled perspective. While Francis has stopped short of full-on coming out in support of gay rights, he’s repeatedly stressed that the Catholic Church’s energies would be put to better use focusing on being more inclusive.

Most recently the Pope met with Diego Neria Lejárragam a Spanish transgender man, who was ostracized by his church following his decision to have gender reassignment surgery. In an impassioned letter Lejárraga asked to have  meeting with the Pope in order to seek out advice about how to reconcile his gender identity with his faith and his desire to remain an active participant of the church. A month later, however, Francis made clear that he was only so tolerant of the concept of gender identity.

Francis seems to be at his most comfortable when he’s vacillating somewhere between old-school institutional bigotry and tepid acceptance of LGBT people. Disorienting as his mixed messaging may be, there’s a chance that his shifting views may reflect on his outlook on the papacy. While he’s expressed that he doesn’t “mind being the Pope,” Francis has also alluded to missing his former life as a regular priest. It’s unclear whether or not the Pope is contemplating stepping down in the near future, but his brushes with LGBT acceptance could be a sign of decisions to come.

Watch an ABC News report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Pope Francis Dines With LGBT Inmates In An Italian Prison: VIDEO" »


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