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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 10, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 15
France names Gay ambassador to Vatican City
Curia calls move a 'provocation'
Section One
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France names Gay ambassador to Vatican City
Curia calls move a 'provocation'

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

France has decided that it will send an openly Gay ambassador to Vatican City, home base of the Roman Catholic Church.

The new ambassador, Laurent Stefanini, was approved by the French Council of Ministers - the equivalent of the U.S. cabinet - on January 5, and the post has been vacant since the departure of the old ambassador on March 1, but so far Stefanini has not taken up his new duties.

According to the Swiss website BlastingNews.com, some members of the Roman Curia have labeled the appointment a 'provocation,' and the new French ambassador may be unwelcome at the Vatican.

Stefanini certainly comes with impeccable diplomatic credentials. He has been serving as Chief of Protocol for the French Republic since 2010. He also comes with a letter of recommendation from the Catholic Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois.

On the other hand, Ludovine LaRochere, the head of the French organization Manif pour Tout - which has organized mass demonstrations against same-sex marriage - wrote to the Papal Nuncio in Paris objecting to Stefanini's appointment.

The nuncio is the Pope's diplomatic representative in Paris. Like many Catholic-majority countries, France maintains official diplomatic relations with the Vatican.

With only 842 residents and an area of 110 acres, Vatican City is the smallest country in the world. Its status as an independent country dates to the Lateran Treaty of 1929 in which Italy recognized papal sovereignty over the walled complex of buildings.

Prior to the unification of Italy in 1870, the Pope controlled a swath of territory in central Italy. In the 1929 treaty, Pope Pius XI finally recognized Italy as a unified country in return for recognition of the Vatican as an independent entity.

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France names Gay ambassador to Vatican City
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