(Paris) France's new ambassador to the Holy See is Philippe Zeller. The appointment was preceded by a lengthy tug of war. Early in 2015 the professing homosexual career diplomat Laurent Stefanini had been appointed by the Socialist government in Paris. This was widely perceived as an open provocation against the Catholic Church and a propaganda campaign for normalizing aberrosexuality.
The Vatican Secretariat of State rejected Stefanini because of hissexual disorder, although the Archbishop of Paris Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, had supported appointment.
Already in 2007, the designated appointment, Frank Eich Kuhn-Delforge had been rejected by the Vatican for his depraved way of life as an ambassador.
In April 2015 , Pope Francis the rejected seeing Stefanini in audience, however, reiterated the no to his accreditation. It is not quite clear whether the rejection was made because of his homosexuality, or because the French government tried to coerce the Vatican ideologically with his person. Officially, the Vatican never commented on the issue.
Shortly after, France demonstratively confirmed Stefaninis as ambassador to the Holy See. Since the Vatican refused accreditation, Stefanini remained an ambassador without portfolio, as France had to be represented in Rome by an executive diplomat.
Observers have assumed that French President François Hollande would not back down for reasons of prestige, and the question could be thus be held off until after the presidential election in 2017.
After one year, there has been a turning point. After 18 months of vacancy, the government in Paris has dispensed Stefaninis' appointment as various French media has unanimously reported. The new Ambassador to the Holy See is to be the career diplomat Philippe Zeller, who is currently Ambassador of France in Canada.
Zeller, born in 1952, is one of the graduating class "Pierre Mendès France" (1978) of the Ecole Nationale d'Aministration (ENA), which forms the cadre of the French civil service. In the same year he entered the service of the Foreign Ministry. In 2010 he was made an Officer of the Legion of Honor.
Philippe Zeller is married, father of two children and grandfather.