Vatican Hub




France Defends Its Openly Gay Ambassador to the Vatican

Laurent-stefanini-france-480x240

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.

KUHN-BD-2001-P010067

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

Cordileone

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.


Pope Francis Accepts Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien's Resignation Following Gay Relationship Scandal

Former Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the anti-gay crusader who stepped down in 2013 after being accused of "inappropriate acts" with other priests, and later admitted having a long-term relationship with one of the priests whose accusations led to him getting sacked, will play no further public church role, the Vatican confirmed today.

The Guardian reports:

O'brienO’Brien will retain his title, but he will be reduced to a strictly private life. The resignation followed the decision by the pope to send a personal envoy, archbishop Charles Scicluna, to Scotland last year to investigate the allegations.

Francis reached his decision based on the inquiry. Its contents are fully known only to the pontiff and Scicluna. O’Brien’s decision followed a private discussion with the pope.

“I wish to repeat the apology which I made to the Catholic church and the people of Scotland some two years ago now on 3 March 2013,” O’Brien said in a statement. “I then said that there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me. For that I am deeply sorry.

“I thank Pope Francis for his fatherly care of me and of those I have offended in any way. I will continue to play no part in the public life of the Church in Scotland; and will dedicate the rest of my life in retirement, praying especially for the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, for Scotland, and for those I have offended in any way.”

The BBC has more on how the scandal went down here


Gay Catholic Group: Vatican Welcomed Us With Open Arms for First Time

Sister Jeannine Gramick (pictured) of the American gay Catholic group New Ways Ministry tells Reuters that when she brought her group of 50 gay Catholics to an audience with the Pope on Wednesday, they were not shunned as they had been before, but given prime seats with all the other groups.

Reuters describes it as 'VIP treatment'.

Reuters adds: Gramick

They told Reuters in an interview afterwards that when the group came to Rome on Catholic pilgrimages during the papacies of Francis's predecessors John Paul and Benedict, "they just ignored us."

This time, a US bishop and a top Vatican official backed their request and they sat in a front section with dignitaries and special Catholic groups. As the pope passed, they sang "All Are Welcome," a hymn symbolising their desire for a more inclusive Church.

A list of participants released by the Vatican listed "a group of lay people accompanied by a sister" but did not mention that they were a gay rights organization.

Gramick sees the move as a sign of movement within the Church.

While Pope Francis gave signs early on in his papacy that the Church would be more open to gay people, asking "who am I to judge?" at an audience with reporters, there have been no official signals from the Vatican that any policies are changing.

In fact, Francis recently endorsed Slovakia's referendum to ban gay marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples, and has warned of "insidious attacks" against the family, in Manila, saying gay marriage threatens to make family "disposable."


Pope Francis: Just To Be Clear, Gay Marriage Isn't On the Table - VIDEO

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c6f528a3970b-800wi

Seemingly backtracking on promises made for a more inclusive Catholic Church, Pope Francis has indicated that same-sex marriage is not on the agenda, reports the Independent.

Seen by some as a reformer, Francis earlier this year suggested the church might support civil unions for same-sex couples. Last month, he demoted anti-gay U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke.

At a meeting of bishops in October, it was declared that gay people have “gifts and qualities to offer.” However, following a backlash from conservatives, the church announced that the statement was part of a “working document” that did not reflect a change in the official Catholic stance on homosexuality.

In an interview published yesterday in La Nacion, Francis said that although the church must help parents to stand by their gay children, official Catholic acceptance of same-sex marriage is not being considered.

Vatican“What [the synod] did talk about was of how a family with a homosexual child, whether a son or a daughter, goes about educating that child, how the family bears up, how to help that family to deal with that somewhat unusual situation.

“That is to say, the synod addressed the family and the homosexual persons in relation to their families, because we come across this reality all the time in the confessional: a father and a mother whose son or daughter is in that situation. This happened to me several times in Buenos Aires.

“We have to find a way to help that father or that mother to stand by their son or daughter.”

However, he added that “nobody mentioned homosexual marriage” at the synod because “it did not cross our minds”.

Last week, the Irish Catholic Bishops's Conference released a 16-page manifesto outlining the chruch's opposition to same-sex marriage.

Watch a report on the opening of the October synod, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Pope Francis: Just To Be Clear, Gay Marriage Isn't On the Table - VIDEO" »


Trending



Towleroad - Blogged