Wednesday, October 01, 2008

From the French Desk

Three weeks after the Pope adopted the French president's call for a "positive laicité" on his visit to the church's "eldest daughter," the Holy See has rejected Nicolas Sarkozy's provocative choice for the country's new papal mission-chief, an openly-gay diplomat in a civil union.

Identified in the French press as Jean-Loup Kuhn-Deforge, a senior Foreign Ministry official, reports indicated that the nomination was deemed unacceptable to Rome for reasons of what's been termed the diplomat's "personal profile."

Earlier in the week, AFP reported that a prior candidate under consideration had been passed on in Paris due to a prior divorce. But now, highlighting the import in which it holds the Vatican brief, the French are now said to be moving their ambassador to Moscow, Stanislas Lefebvre de Laboulaye, to the Rome post.

Earlier this year, relations between the church and the incoming Argentinian government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchener took a hit when Buenos Aires proposed a divorced former justice minister who was cohabitating with a new partner. That appointment was likewise declined by Rome.

PHOTO: Reuters