Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Pope Francis did not exactly ‘fire’ US ambassador despite reports

Pope Francis’ current ambassador, or nuncio, to the U.S., Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, was reported to be fired, bu he was still in his job, though that could change at any minute. Church sources say that the pontiff has chosen French-born Archbishop Christophe Pierre, now the Vatican’s representative to Mexico, to be his next envoy to the U.S. Vigano gained notoriety last September when it emerged that he set up a secret meeting between Francis and Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who briefly went to jail for refusing to sign marriage certificates for gay couples. The encounter took place at the Vatican Embassy in Washington when the pontiff was visiting the nation’s capital. When news leaked a few days after Francis returned to Rome, it caused an uproar because it made it seem the pope had quietly been giving support to an icon of the very culture that he had spent his visit preaching against. That also cast a shadow over what was otherwise an enormously successful and historic trip, Francis’ first-ever to the U.S. It turned out, however, that the pope had been as blindsided as everyone else. He didn’t know who Davis was, church officials said, nor did he understand the implications of meeting her, and he was reportedly furious that his chief diplomatic representative in the U.S. had arranged the decidedly undiplomatic meeting. The Italian-born Vigano was immediately called back to Rome and called on the carpet. Church sources said Pierre’s nomination was awaiting State Department approval.



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