Pope Francis has barred a close aide of French President Francois Hollande as the new French ambassador to the Vatican because he is gay, the Telegraph (British) website reports today (April 11, 2015).
The rejection calls into question the pope's reputation as holding more liberal views on homosexuality. Last year, when asked what he thought of gays being members of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis stunned many people with his liberal and unauthoritative answer: "Who am I to judge?"
Laurent Stefanini, 54 -- a senior diplomat and President Hollande's chief of protocol -- was nominated in early January, but the Vatican has maintained a stony silence over whether it accepts his credentials, officials in Paris said.
The usual time frame for the Vatican's acceptance is a month and a half. After that, a prolonged silence following a nomination is normally interpreted as a rejection.