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Vatican criticized after refusing gay French ambassador's nomination

Italian gay activists have slammed the Vatican after it reportedly refused to accept France’s nomination for new ambassador Laurent Stefanini on the grounds of his alleged homosexuality.

French President Francois Hollande recommended 55-year-old Stefanini (pictured above, right) for the post in January, but the Holy See has so far failed to recognize his credentials French and Italian media reported on Friday.

"Clearly, even at the Vatican they do not practice what they preach," Flavio Romani, chairman of the Arcigay association said Friday in a statement, where he blamed "top prelates" of contradicting one of Pope Francis' most famous statements.

In 2013, the pontiff said that "if a person is gay and seeks God and has goodwill, who am I to judge?"

Vatican officials have refused to comment on the allegation.

Stefanini, a practicing Catholic, worked at the French embassy in the Vatican from 2001-2005, and is not the first homosexual diplomat to be stationed at the Holy See. However, no ambassador in that position has ever been openly gay.

The debate comes as tensions rise between the Holy See and France's Socialist government after gay marriage was legalized in 2013, much to the outrage of the Catholic Church and traditionalists.

jlw/kms (dpa, KNA)

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