In a formal statement, the Vatican said Friday that Pope Francis’s meeting with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis “should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects.”
The statement, issued by the Rev. Federico Lombardi, Director of the Press Office of the Holy See, said it was not a “real audience,” suggesting that she was among a group that gathered to greet him and send him off.
That’s a rather unusual statement, and it suggests that the Pope really wasn’t informed about who he was meeting.
When you couple that with the fact that the Pope-Davis meeting was revealed by Davis’s Liberty Counsel lawyers and not, as one would suspect, the Vatican spokesmen, red flags are being raised. See, e.g. Esquire, Was Pope Francis Actually Swindled into Meeting Kim Davis? To answer Esquire’s question, I think he was.
Anyway, undeterred by the Vatican backing off the significance of the meeting, Liberty Counsel issued a fresh statement this morning claiming the pope’s support for their client.
“Neither Kim Davis nor Liberty Counsel ever said the meeting was an endorsement of her legal case,” the law firm’s founder, Mat Staver, said in a press release. “Rather, the meeting was a pastoral meeting to encourage Kim Davis in which Pope Francis thanked her for her courage and told her to ‘Stay strong.’ His words and actions support the universal human right to conscientious objection.”
I think the Pope gets to say what his words and actions are meant to support, buddy.
Remember, this is the Pope who said, with respect to gay people, “Who am I to judge?”
So now the question is becoming relevant — how did the meeting come about? And more and more, it looks like behind the scenes machinations by Liberty Counsel, perhaps with the aide of a sympathetic Vatican “insider” and NOT something this Pope sought out. Those weasels.
UPDATE: Even though the Pope met Kim Davis, he actually had an “audience” with…. well, CNN just broke this “exclusive”:
The day before Pope Francis met anti-gay county clerk Kim Davis in Washington last week, he held a private meeting with a longtime friend from Argentina who has been in a same-sex relationship for 19 years.
Yayo Grassi, an openly gay man, brought his partner, Iwan, as well several other friends to the Vatican Embassy on September 23 for a brief visit with the Pope. A video of the meeting shows Grassi and Francis greeting each other with a warm hug.
In an exclusive interview with CNN, Grassi declined to disclose details about the short visit, but said it was arranged personally by the Pope via email in the weeks ahead of Francis’ highly anticipated visit to the United States.
“Three weeks before the trip, he called me on the phone and said he would love to give me a hug,” Grassi said.
How do you like them apples?