Activists have questioned the Pope’s failure to act against a militantly anti-gay Cardinal who branded a gay diplomat a “faggot”.

Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodríguez, the head of the Catholic Church in the Dominican Republic, has made a string of hateful homophobic remarks about the US ambassador to the country, Wally Brewster.

He said last month of Brewster: “That man needs to go back to his embassy. Let him focus on housework, since he’s the wife to a man.”

Rodríguez has also referred to Brewster as a ‘faggot‘, claiming: “Diplomacy is not for that sort of thing, an absolutely negative propaganda”.

Despite his extremist comments, Rodríguez remains in place – and the Catholic Church appears to have taken no action against him whatsoever.

This week, a senior US Senator has written to the Pope to urge him to take action.

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, the party’s second-ranked official in the Senate, released an open letter to the Catholic leader.

He wrote: “Ambassador Brewster is from my state of Illinois and he is a personal friend.

“I supported President Obama’s selection of Ambassador Brewster and he was sworn into his position in my Senate office.

“Ambassador Brewster is gay and was married under the laws of the United States to his partner, Bob Satawake.”

The lawmaker continued: “Even before Ambassador Brewster’s arrival in Santo Domingo in 2013, Cardinal Rodriguez launched a personal attack against him with public statements quoted in the popular press.

“The Cardinal used the hateful slur ‘faggot’, which he continues to use to this day.

“In a recent interview Cardinal Rodriguez again described the Ambassador as a ‘faggot’ and falsely claimed the Ambassador was setting out to promote ‘faggotry’ in the Dominican Republic.

“The Cardinal described the Ambassador as a ‘wife’ who ‘should stick to housework’.

He added: “The Church’s teachings on gay marriage are well known but the Church also teaches us to show tolerance for those with different sexual orientations.

“The intolerant public statements of Cardinal Rodriguez are inconsistent with that clearly stated value.

“Since your selection as Pope, you have shared a message of compassion, tolerance, and love.

“I remember distinctly when you spoke to us at the joint session of Congress in September and reminded us of our responsibility to ‘defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good’.

“I accept that challenge and I am calling on you to ask nothing less of the hierarchy of the Church.”

The Pope is yet to reply.