Local February 14, 2014 | 12:12 pm

Gays, the Pope, Washington, Dominican Catholics in widening row(Update)

Santo Domingo.- Dominican Republic’s envoy to Pope Francis on Friday railed against his immediate superior in the Foreign Ministry, the latest chapter in a row stretching from Washington to the Vatican, and pits gay activists and the Catholic Church.

Víctor Grimaldi, in response to a call from deputy foreign minister José Manuel Trullols, affirms that as a diplomat, he “adheres to the Constitution and as a Christian with freedom of thought,” referring to a call he says Trullols made, after his letter to Pope Francis in defense of cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodríguez.

He said he defends his position in the open letter to his superior, rejecting Trullols’ threats, "even if I’m decapitated like John the Baptist,” because as Ambassador “I simply comply with the Constitution and as Christian with freedom of thought."

Grimaldi’s statement comes just one day after gay U.S. ambassador James Brewster met with a group of activists of the country’s LGBT community, which has ongoing confrontations with the Catholic Church and Lopez Rodriguez, its top representative.

“You’ve never had called me by phone and you threatened me for a letter which I addressed to the Pope Francis,” the letter says. “After your call today I caution you that Christianophobia is a type of religious persecution and of the freedom enshrined in our Constitution, which I swore to defend and fulfill.”

“I do not accept the threats, Grimaldi said, adding that as Ambassador, he “simply” complies with the Constitution.

US ambassador responds: “I’m not accustomed to responding to false accusations,” was the only thing Brewster said Friday when asked about Grimaldi’s allegation.

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