Vatican welcomes world’s only gay leader and his husband to meet the Pope

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The gay Prime Minister of Luxembourg and his husband have been welcomed to the Vatican.

Xavier Bettel, who married his husband, Gauthier Destenay, in 2015, was welcomed by Catholic officials.

Archbishop Ganswein, a leader of the Catholic church and personal secretary of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, met Bettel and his partner as they arrived for the visit.

The gay couple joined other heads of government from across Europe for the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome.

Pope Francis then held a meeting with the leaders, including Prime Minister Bettel, in the Vatican, marking the anniversary.

Despite the unusual circumstances – Mr Bettel is the only openly gay leader in the world – Vatican bosses opted for the usual protocol around heads of government and their spouses.

Mr Iglesias, Secretary General of the left-wing Podemos party in Spain, acknowledged the unusual diplomatic event, writing: “Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, received in the Vatican with his husband.”

Vatican welcomes world’s only gay leader and his husband to meet the Pope

Prime Minister Bettel responded to the post, writing online: “It was a great pleasure and honour for me and Gauthier to be welcomed by the leader of the Catholic church. XB”

Mr Bettel was previously photographed being tickled by former British Prime Minister David Cameron as captured in this hilarious photograph.

Welcoming Mr Bettel comes after the Vatican refused to accept a gay diplomat sent from France.

It usually takes just weeks for a nomination to be approved – but it became clear in April 2015 that the Vatican was ‘freezing out’ the country’s selection of ambassador, Laurent Stefanini, refusing to respond to the nomination because he is gay.

President Hollande stood firm on the choice, before eventually surrendering after a year long truce.

The country will now nominate a new, presumably heterosexual ambassador to the Vatican in 2017.

Despite an early “who am I to judge” comments on homosexuality, attempting to bolster his image and be perceived as progressive, the Pope is yet to lift any of the actively homophobic and transphobic policies of his predecessors.

The Vatican has also maintained a silence after a report exposed that it was funding a ‘gay cure’ clinic for priests.

Pope Francis earlier this year attacked Catholics who do not practice proper Christian values, and suggested that atheists are better than those who are unfaithful.

The Vatican Radio posted a transcript from one a mass given by the Pope, in which he scolded Christians living a “double life”.

The Pope was quick to judge these “hypocritical” Christians, but has been hypocritical himself in the past

The ‘who am I to judge’ PR stunt, which attempted to bolster his image, has not yet seen any homophobic and transphobic policies of his predecessors being actively removed.

He claimed that the church should “apologise” to gay people, a month after he said Catholics should be free to discriminate based on sexuality.

Despite his ‘who am I to judge’ comments, the Catholic figurehead has stood by supporting anti-LGBT activist rallies, as well as being firmly against accepting transgender people.

He was also happy to judge when a senior Vatican priest came out as gay last month and he promptly dismissed him from his post.

The priest has since sent a letter warning the Pope that his policies are “making life hell” for LGBT people, he did not reply.

Singer Hozier previously went after the Pope over his failure to tackle Catholic homophobia.

“The Pope came ot last year and said who am I to judge with regards to somebody’s sexual orientation?” the singer said. “But I think it is important to differentiate between lip service towards something and actually making change.”