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Pope Francis/Kim Davis meeting confirmed by Vatican

Pope Francis/Kim Davis meeting confirmed by Vatican

UPDATE: NYTimes reports

On Wednesday, the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, confirmed the meeting, but he declined to elaborate. “I do not deny that the meeting took place, but I have no other comments to add,” he said.

Major news outlets are reporting that Kentucky clerk Kim Davis met privately with Pope Francis during his time in Washington, D.C., according to her lawyers, but the Vatican has still not confirmed or denied the meeting.

From National Public Radio, which provides a link to the original story published by Inside the Vatican:

Addressing reports that Pope Francis met privately with controversial Kentucky clerk Kim Davis during his U.S. visit, the Vatican isn’t denying the meeting took place. Davis, who has refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, says she met the pope at the Vatican embassy in Washington.

Offering no comment on the previously unannounced meeting, the Vatican would neither confirm nor deny that it took place.

“I never thought I would meet the Pope,” Davis said via her legal team. “Who am I to have this rare opportunity? I am just a County Clerk who loves Jesus and desires with all my heart to serve him.”

Davis’s legal team, through Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel, has indicated photos will be released. According to their report, the Pope gave Davis two rosaries. While she is Apostolic Christian (Pentecostal), her mother is Catholic, according to Religion News. From the BBC:

Pope Francis “thanked her for her courage” and told her to “stay strong”, Mr Stavers said.

The Pope was asked for his views on the question of government officials refusing to discharge their duties because of their religious beliefs during his return from the US on Sunday.

He told reporters on his flight back to Rome that conscientious objection was a “human right”.

Commentary in Religion News:

Inside the Vatican editor Robert Moynihan, who has covered the Vatican for years, said Davis recounted the meeting to him shortly after it took place.

The meeting would seem to be a stunning coda to the pope’s visit, which may be one reason why the Vatican on Wednesday seemed eager to avoid engaging it further, declining to either confirm or deny that the meeting took place…

…Throughout the trip, Francis seemed to studiously avoid political landmines and repeatedly urged his bishops to avoid harsh language and culture war battles — and the Kim Davis case has been one of the year’s biggest rallying cries for the religious right.

The Vatican’s silence leaves questions unanswered:

How the Davis-Francis meeting came about, however, is a mystery. Staver told the New York Times that Vatican officials set up the meeting and U.S. bishops were not involved.

“We did not want to release the information up to this time, nor did the Vatican, because the Vatican wanted to focus its message on a lot of issues (during the papal visit), and at the right time we ultimately released the information and the Vatican gave us the opportunity to do so,” Staver said.

He said that while Davis’ team wanted to broadcast news of the meeting right away, they also knew it would overshadow the “broader message” Francis wanted to bring to the U.S. Francis returned to the Vatican early Monday morning.



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Paul Powers

I completely disagree with Kim Davis’ actions, and I don’t see her a martyr. But I think many of us, including myself, have to avoid being like the scribes and Pharisees who got bent out of shape because Jesus broke bread with publicans and sinners.

Scott Wesley

Just when I thought the Pope would fit into a neat pigeon hole… CNN reports that he also had a private meeting with Yayo Grassi and his partner Iwan Bagus. Grassi knows the Pope from Argentina and says the Pope personally reached out to him because he wanted to see him.

I have two thoughts: 1) The meeting with Davis was a setup by staffers along the way with an agenda that is discordant with the Pope’s agenda – I would not consider it a particularly pastoral moment as it established no pastoral relationship and Ms Davis is not in any sense part of the Pope’s flock. I think subordinates set the Pope up. And 2) everything else notwithstanding, the Pope is not and has never been a supporter of Marriage Equality, much as I and many others might wish he was. Within his understanding of sacramental marriage (think procreative and unitive), which is certainly the RC (and for that matter most of the churches in the world) understanding, there is no sacramental possibility of same-sex marriage because it cannot, without other parties involvement, be procreative.

Again its just a guess, but I would guess that if they were doing things over, the Davis meeting might well be omitted, whereas the Grassi/Bagus meeting would probably stay on the calendar. For while the Pope is no supporter of equal marriage, I also think he is no supporter of most homophobia. I don’t know that I can answer the question of whether one can be non-homophobic and opposed to marriage equality at the same time. Perhaps others can help me with that.

As for those offering the possibility that the nuance of US politics might have been lost in translation – I can’t credit that… The Vatican has more or less defined nuanced politics over the centuries and, lets face it, there is nothing very nuanced about the Rowan County Clerk debacle. I find it much more plausible that folks who absolutely understood what they were doing set this up and the Pope, who many things on his mind, missed what was happening.

Philip B. Spivey

Bro David: I believe the irony (and humor) of my statement escaped you. I meant just that: That NO face-to-face meeting occurred— in either instance.

David Allen

Yes, obviously it did.

It appeared to me to be just the opposite of what you state that you intended.

Anne Bay

Jim Yardley and Laurie Goodstein have written a very good article for the New York Times, date October 2, 2015. It clarifies the actual details of the Pope’s visit with Kim Davis, and I encourage people to read it. As Paul Harvey said on his radio show-“here’s the rest of the story.”

Philip B. Spivey

Yes, the enlarged story sheds light on the pope’s American ambassadors’ effort to establish six-degrees-of-separation and call it a meeting.

I wonder how the pope’s meeting with Bsp. Eugene Robinson went, I’ve heard nary a whisper.

Thanks, Anne.

David Allen

There was no meeting with +Gene. There never was supposed to be a meeting. +Gene was one of thousands standing on the White House south lawn waving and shouting greetings to Francis on his visit to the White House. It never was to be any more than that. +Gene stated so in his open letter to Francis issued before Francis arrived in DC.

Marshall Scott

Further news reporting this morning: Pope Francis’ Meeting Wasn’t an Endorsement of Kim Davis’s Views, Vatican Says. It seems likely to me that possibly the arrangement and certainly the reporting reflects those “voices” from the Vatican that expressed concern about who was on the grounds of the White House, that turned out not to be “official.”

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