VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Despite media reports that Pope Francis refused the candidate France proposed as its next ambassador to the Holy See, the French government has yet to receive an official response from the Vatican, said a spokesperson for the French government.
“For the moment, we wait,” said Stephane Le Foll.
During a press briefing April 22 in Paris, Le Foll confirmed that Pope Francis met with the proposed candidate, Laurent Stefanini. However, Le Foll discounted reports claiming the pope did not approve the nomination.
“What is cited in the newspaper is not the official word of the Vatican,” he said, responding to a question from a journalist. “I do not give any credit to the information (about the refusal) you brought up.”
According to the French Catholic news agency I.Media, the pope and Stefanini had a 40-minute private meeting at the Domus Sanctae Marthae April 17, during which they spoke and prayed together.
Since then, however, some media outlets published reports that accuse the Vatican of refusing France’s nomination because Stefanini is homosexual. The press also cited Dr. Bernard Kouchner, a French politician and co-founder of Medecins Sans Frontieres, as reacting to the Vatican’s alleged refusal, describing it as “racism.”
Le Foll told journalists he would not comment on Kouchner’s remarks, adding that as the former French minister of foreign and European affairs, Kouchner “should know in any case, on all of these subjects, to always take many precautions before commenting on information.”
The French government is waiting — “after the normal discussions, the time that is necessary for the study of the candidacy” — for a response from the Vatican, Le Foll said.
International law grants all states, including the Vatican, the right to review all nominations and accept or reject an appointed ambassador. The review process is usually private and states are not obliged to give a reason for refusing a proposed candidate.
Stefanini, currently France’s chief of protocol, is Catholic and worked as the first councilor for the French embassy to the Holy See from 2001 to 2005.
The Vatican press office has declined to comment on Stefanini’s candidacy.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103