Vatican, France in showdown over gay ambassador
Vatican City, Apr 10: 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. With Pope Francis entering his third year in the post, some activists see the Vatican's silence as a test of the depth of reform in the Catholic Church.
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.
"The reply normally doesn't take more than a month, a month and a half," this source added. If there is a refusal, "the Vatican doesn't reply, doesn't offer an explanation and it's up to the country concerned to interpret this lack of a reply."