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Laurent Stefanini’s hopes of being the first gay ambassador to the Holy See have been dashed following his appointment to another post.

French President Francois Hollande had nominated Stefanini, who was the presidnet’s head of protocol, to be appointed as ambassador to the Holy See in January 2015, but the nomination was met with stony silence – which political pundits believe signaled the Vatican’s disapproval of the nomination of an openly gay man to the post.

Now Hollande has appointed Stefanini ambassador to UNESCO, the Paris-based cultural agency of the United Nations, ending any chance of Stefanini taking up a position in Rome.

Last year journalists from the French catholic newspaper La Croix described Stefanini’s appointment as a ‘provocation’.

Although the new Pope Francis has taken on a more sympathetic and open manner with the gay community, he still maintains the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality. The Pope has said that he could not judge gay people with good will who were seeking God. He has also met members of a Catholic gay rights group in the Vatican.

According to Libération, Hollande is not expected to put forward another candidate for the Vatican post before the next French presidential election in 2017.

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