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.