Pope Judging “Gays” After All?

Liberal Catholics’ hopes for a more progressive Church under Pope Francis have taken another knock with claims that the Pontiff has refused to accept France’s new choice of Ambassador to the Vatican because he is gay.     PopeFrancisseriousface

 Laurent Stefanini, the openly gay diplomat at the centre of the row, was nominated as France’s ambassador to the Holy See by the country’s council of ministers on January 5. He should by now have filled the post left when Bruno Jouvert departed the position at the end of February.

But with the Vatican still failing to confirm officially that it has accepted the new ambassador, the French and Italian press are widely reporting that Mr Stefanini’s sexuality is behind his rejection.

In France Le Journal du Dimanche quoted a Vatican insider as saying that the rejection was “a decision taken by the Pope himself”. The daily newspaper Libération headlined its article on the story: “The Pope tarnishes his image”.

Asked by The Independent if Mr Stefanini’s sexuality had led to his rejection, a spokesman for the Vatican said: “We have no comment to make.”

A French foreign ministry source told the news agency Ansa, however, that Mr Stefanini remained “the best possible candidate for the role”.

 Laurent Stefanini was nominated as France’s ambassador to the Holy See by the country’s council of ministers  The Italian media has been quick to remind Francis of his declaration last year: “If someone is gay… who am I to judge him.” But other commentators have noted that the Vatican, which has been hit by numerous lurid sex scandals of its own, has a bit of a history when it comes to blackballing diplomats from overseas on account of its squeamishness about homosexuality.

In 2008 it blocked the appointment of another gay French diplomat, Jean-Loup Kuhn-Delforge, as ambassador to the Vatican. And in 2012 the Vatican rejected Bulgaria’s then choice of ambassador to the Holy See because, it was claimed, he had written a novel containing a gay sex scene.

The Bulgarian diplomat Kiril Maritchkov, a 39-year-old lawyer, who speaks Italian and four other languages, and is married to an Italian woman, appeared be an ideal choice for Sofia’s representative at the Vatican.

But it emerged that Archbishop Janusz Bolonek, the Pope’s representative in Sofia, wrote to his superiors highlighting the offending part of the novel, which was a finalist for a book of the year award in Bulgaria.  Source

Comment:

Is this good news, which helps to offset the ridiculous “who am I to judge” remark, all the more ridiculous falling from the lips of a pope, or is it just Vatican politics, given the claim that, due to “its own”  sex scandals, the Vatican, “has a bit of a history when it comes to blackballing diplomats… on account of… homosexuality”… Well?  Comments invited.

31 responses

  1. I tend to think it’s good news, shows there’s still a standard of some sort, no matter how low the bar is set.

    I just hope all the publicity doesn’t make the PR man in charge of the Pope’s image, get him to change his mind.

  2. I don’t think its to do with his being homosexual; I think its because the French Government announced him as the new ambassador to the media, before even giving the Vatican the opportunity to consider the appointment.

    See this quote from a French priest blogger, Fr Stéphane Lemessin:

    “Announcing his nomination to the press before presenting it to the Vatican was not the most diplomatic way of doing things,”

    http://www.thelocal.fr/20150410/pope-rejects-frances-gay-ambassador-to-vatican

    So it seems that the snub is more down to breach of protocol / courtesy, than it is related to the man himself.

    It sounds to me as if the French Government seized the opportunity to make itself look good via announcing it was sending a homosexual to the Vatican – thus inadvertently robbing Francis of the opportunity to make himself look good by being seen to sanction it.

    The linked article also claims that both Cardinal André Vingt-Trois and Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran both support the appointment and have been working behind the scenes to have it accepted.

    • Gabriel Syme,

      I’m shocked and disillusioned to read your post. I should have known better than to think it could be a case of the Pope doing the right thing for once in anything to do with homosexuality.

    • Gabriel Syme,

      I’m not sure that it’s just down to breach of protocol since there was a previous case where the Vatican refused to accept a diplomat who was gay.

      It is shocking that two cardinals are working behind the scenes to have the French appointment accepted, but doesn’t that suggest it’s not just a protocol matter?

  3. This is one of those occasions when it is difficult to know for sure why the Holy See has failed to rubber-stamp this appointment. While I would like to believe that it’s because the Pope disapproves of Mr. Stefanini’s homosexual lifestyle, I fear the Vatican’s refusal to confirm the appointment is more politically than morally motivated.

    If the objection had been on moral grounds, which it most definitely should be, then it behooves the Pope and his spokesmen in the Vatican to declare as much. The fact that they have not done so suggests to me that this has more to do with diplomatic failings on the French side than moral fidelity on the Catholic side.

    But even if the objection is on moral grounds, the fact that the Vatican is not clearly stating so is itself a kind of betrayal Church teaching that insults Our Lord and scandalises His little ones. Governments everywhere should be left in no doubt that the Catholic Church cannot and will not countenance immoral living in any way, shape or form, no matter what secular pressures are brought to bear.

    The Catholic Church is not first a diplomatic institution, it is first and foremost an Apostolic institution existing for the eternal salvation of souls. That means speaking the truth in season and out of season, just as Our Lord did and was crucified for it. I wonder whatever happened to that fiery Catholic spirit? Seems it may have been largely snuffed out at Vatican II by the hurricane that entered through those “open windows”!!

  4. “The Catholic Church is not first a diplomatic institution, it is first and foremost an Apostolic institution existing for the eternal salvation of souls.”

    It has been so far. Please God this remains true, but ‘a hae ma doots’ under the present Pope. I do hope, against hope, that my fears are groundless.

    My only consolation is that none of this betrayal of His Church is news to God; profoundly shocking as the numerous scandals which have occurred over the last 60 odds years are to us, and inexplicable as it is that churchmen – or indeed ANY men – should so demean their chosen office in life and sacrifice their integrity so drastically, He will triumph in the end. The Second Vatican Council has sown a truly deadly, poisonous harvest. I believe that when the shepherd fails to protect the flock, then the sheep have a right to defend themselves, and in our case, a duty to defend the True Faith. How to do it effectively? Prayer, of course, but ‘in addition to prayer, there is effort’ *. We need to become an organised force, but we need a leader or leaders to unite us. Any thoughts?

    * with thanks to Robert Bolt ‘A man for all Seasons’!

  5. Therese,

    For better or worse the Pope and the Bishops are our leaders, there can be no others. What we can do in the meantime is distance ourselves from their errors by attending the ancient Mass and sticking with the teaching of Tradition, rejecting all the modernist novelties of our duped conciliar shepherds. This we do when we affiliate ourselves with the SSPX, not in rebellion but in fidelity to the deposit of Faith handed down.

  6. Dear me Athanasius, of course I’m not suggesting rebellion! I must have expressed myself very badly for you to come to such a conclusion. Having read over my post, I can’t understand why you have. I must be missing something.

    • Therese,

      I can’t see anything advocating rebellion in your post. Only by misinterpreting this line could anyone think you were doing that.

      “We need to become an organised force, but we need a leader or leaders to unite us. Any thoughts?”

      I interpret that just as it is asked, we need to be organised to really fight modernism. I think Catholic Truth is that “organised force” but no matter how much they try to lead us, there’s still a handful only who rise to the occasion. I’m going by the letters page, e.g. only two pages required at most for a publication only published every two months and the reports about different activities, only a minority participate. That’s not to denigrate Catholic Truth but no matter how much leadership is given, you need people to follow and act. Reinventing the wheel by starting another group, if that is what you are suggesting, would not make a blind bit of difference IMHO.

      • Fidelis,

        I agree with your assessment of what Therese actually meant. The problem is that on a public forum such as this every word has to be carefully weighed, lest some readers misunderstand and think we’re advocating sedevacantism or something. I know that’s not the case, but I’m sure you (and Therese) will understand the importance of clarity.

  7. Therese,

    My “not in rebellion but in fidelity…etc.” was not aimed at you but at those who falsely accuse SSPX priests of being rebels. Apologies for the lack of clarity on that one.

    Here’s the part from your original post that troubled me and prompted my response: “I believe that when the shepherd fails to protect the flock, then the sheep have a right to defend themselves, and in our case, a duty to defend the True Faith. How to do it effectively? Prayer, of course, but ‘in addition to prayer, there is effort’ *. We need to become an organised force, but we need a leader or leaders to unite us. Any thoughts?

    Maybe we should both re-read our comments before posting them in future, it will save a lot of confusion. Speaking of which, can you explain your last response to Frankier? I genuinely cannot see what Pilgrimage of Grace has to do with this, but then I’m probably missing something very obvious.

    • Athanasius

      From my reading of the comments I can’t see how Pilgrimage of Grace is relevant either. Pilgrimage of Grace was a fight against Protestantism and downright sacrilege, thievery and vandalism. The fight then was much more obvious and the enemy much more distinct. Today, it is a battle much more subtle. We are faced with an enemy within and an enemy that sometimes has the best of intentions!

      I suppose a good rule of thumb today is to show obedience in all that is required and to resist and correct when we need to. This is what Catholic Truth has always stood for.

  8. Athanasius/Petrus

    The Pilgrimage of Grace was a public protest by ordinary people. Their protest was in fidelity to Catholicism, not rebellion, and I don’t agree that the fight then was much more obvious – haven’t we had decades of sacrilege and vandalism? I fail to see any subtlety in the attack on the Church and Tradition; a blind man on a galloping horse couldn’t fail to see what’s going on, and for years and years the remaining faithful have written countless letters of protest to priests, bishops, the Vatican, organised and attended conferences to bemoan the state of affairs etc, to virtually no effect. Resist and correct, Petrus? Where is the evidence that correction has taken effect over the last several decades?

    The only positive effect of resistance I can see is the much greater availability of the Tridentine Mass, which I believe was permitted because of the fear that the SSPX was taking paying customers from the pews. Cynical, me? One learns by experience.

    I do understand the importance of clarity, Athanasius, and take your point that words can be misinterpreted. Must try harder!

    • Therese

      The Catholic Truth apostolate is evidence. There have been battles won. Small battles, but victories nonetheless. I remember when representatives of the Archdiocese of Glasgow wanted to include John Knox in a litany for school children (no, I’m not kidding). Catholic Truth rightly corrected this and John Knox was dropped.

    • Therese & Petrus,

      I knew I was missing the obvious. I thought the Pilgrimage of Grace referred to was a certain London contributor to a certain forum who was a Bishop Williamson supporter. Now I know I was miles out!!

      I, too, must try harder!

      On the subject of the Pilgrimage of Grace, I would tend to agree more with Petrus’ assessment. Although the damage to the faith and the Church is the same in the long run, it is true that the Protestant Revolutionaries of the 16th century were much easier to spot and pin down. They made no attempt to disguise their hatred of the Papacy, the Mass and the Catholic religion, unlike their Modernist counterparts today who remain in the Church claiming fidelity to the Faith and Papacy while undermining both, sometimes, as Petrus said, with good intention. Still, what you suggested as the remedy is correct and probably all we can do in the circumstances. But let’s not forget either that, unlike the misguided Protestants of the Reformation, many of today’s reformers are indifferent to what is true and false. They just want innovation for the sake of it and that is very hard to combat.

    • Therese,

      Sorry about this – when I read your “I did post this earlier…” comment I checked the SPAM box and, sure enough, there it was. For no reason that I can see, it went into SPAM. Sorry about that.

      On topic – if only more Catholics would “resist and correct”, that may have an effect. In any event, there’s not a lot more any of us can do. When we (CT) arrange militant events, the reliable remnant turn up but not a lot more. Believe me, we have many times staged “public protests” which turned out to be fairly public (media coverage) but not many protesters. Catholics are good at talking the talk, not so much at walking the walk, as they say these days. Having said that, I asked three people after Mass this morning (two men, one woman) if they would consider joining our trip to Dublin if it goes ahead, to wipe the smile from Archbishop Martin’s Irish eyes and was delighted with the 100% positive response.

      We do what we can, where we can, Therese, in the knowledge that the victory is already ours. Apart from taking the Vatican by violent storm, I can’t see what else we can do. Anyone who wants to try, I’ll check out the flights to Rome, but would have to be after I’ve checked the flights to Dublin!

  9. Dear Ed, thanks for rescuing me from spam!

    I’d just like to say one more thing (for the present!)- please don’t think for ONE SECOND that I was being in any way critical of the efforts of Catholic Truth and of the bloggers here. Since discovering this blog I have felt as if I were at home, at last, among Catholics who feel and think as I do, ergo my previous rant. One can be honest and blow off steam with “family”. Let me also say that I have been encouraged and sometimes shamed by the efforts of your good self and many others who post here.

    Let me put my money where my mouth is (have to check the bank balance – do I have THAT much?) and say I would be up for Dublin too.

    Whether I can bring myself to accept Athanasius taking Petrus’ side is another matter entirely. Shocking….

    .

    • Therese,

      I didn’t think for a second that you were in any way criticising us. I understand exactly what you are saying.

      And I’m delighted that you may be able to make the trip to Dublin, should it come off. Wonderful! More in due course!

        • Now, now, Petrus, no use trying to get on Therese’s good side now that she’s shooting way up the pay scale. Just say “sorry Therese” and promise to behave in future. Then we can draw the proverbial line under the non- existent problem. You have to laugh… don’t you/we/us?

  10. France stands firm over nomination of gay Vatican envoy

    A French government spokesman said there had been negotiations with the Vatican over the appointment.

    “France has chosen its ambassador to the Vatican. This choice was Stefanini and that remains the French proposal,” said spokesman Stephane Le Foll.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-32316603

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