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.
Xavier Bettel, primer ministro de Luxemburgo, recibido en el Vaticano junto a su marido. Y aquí Cañizares dice que los gays van al infierno🙈 pic.twitter.com/EM6tzRqEwh
— Pablo Iglesias (@Pablo_Iglesias_) March 24, 2017
One journalist, awknowledging the unusual diplomatic event, wrote: “Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, received in the Vatican with her husband. And here Canizares says that gays go to hell 🙈”
Cardinal Canizares is a leading figure in Spain’s Catholic church who claims gay people go to hell.
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 David Cameron.
Here’s a pic of D-Cam tickling Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel. Tyrant. pic.twitter.com/5V8nrAsZ6n
— Daniel Green (@DanGreen1986) May 8, 2015
The move 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 afer 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.