Who met whom, when?
- Kim and Francis, by Dr. Robert Moynihan. Inside the Vatican 09/29/15:
On Thursday, September 24, in the afternoon after his historic address to Congress, just a few minutes before flying to New York City, Pope Francis received, spoke with, and embraced Kim Davis — the Kentucky County Clerk who was jailed in early September for refusing to sign the marriage licenses of homosexual couples who wished to have their civil marriages certified by the state of Kentucky.
Also present was Kim’s husband, Joe Davis.
Kim and her husband had come to Washington for another purpose — Kim was to receive a “Cost of Discipleship” award on Friday, September 25, from The Family Research Council at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.
“Thank you for your courage“
Pope Francis entered the room.
Kim greeted him, and the two embraced.
There is no recording of this conversation, or photographs, as far as I know. But “there is not any thing secret that shall not be made manifest, nor hidden, that shall not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:17)
Kim Davis gave me this account of the meeting shortly after it took place.
“The Pope spoke in English,” she told me. “There was no interpreter. ‘Thank you for your courage,’ Pope Francis said to me. I said, ‘Thank you, Holy Father.’ I had asked a monsignor earlier what was the proper way to greet the Pope, and whether it would be appropriate for me to embrace him, and I had been told it would be okay to hug him. So I hugged him, and he hugged me back. It was an extraordinary moment. ‘Stay strong,’ he said to me. Then he gave me a rosary as a gift, and he gave one also to my husband, Joe. I broke into tears. I was deeply moved.
- Lawyers For Kim Davis Say She Met With Pope CBS News. 09/29/15.
- Vatican Source: Pope Blindsided By Meeting With Controversial Kentucky Clerk CBS News. 10/01/15:
Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich is on his way to Rome tonight. Before he left, he spoke out for the first time on that controversial meeting between Pope Francis and Kim Davis, the county clerk from Kentucky who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses.
Cupich in essence told CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine not to read too much into it.
A highly placed source inside the Vatican claims the Pope was blindsided.
- Statement regarding a meeting of Pope Francis and Mrs. Kim Davis at the Nunciature in Washington, DC (Fr F. Lombardi, Director of the Press Office of the Holy See), 02/10/2015:
The brief meeting between Mrs. Kim Davis and Pope Francis at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, DC has continued to provoke comments and discussion. In order to contribute to an objective understanding of what transpired I am portatili clarify the Following points:
Pope Francis met with several dozen persons who Had Been invited by the Nunciature to greet him as he prepared to leave Washington for New York City. Such brief greetings occur on all papal visits and are two to the Pope's characteristic kindness and availability. The only real audience granted by the Pope at the Nunciature was with one of His former students and his family.
The Pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her Should not be Considered a form of support of her position in all of its Particular and complex aspects.
- CNN Exclusive: Pope held private meeting with same-sex couple in U.S., by Daniel Burke. 10/02/15:
he 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 Bagus, 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 said the visit was arranged personally with 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.
The meeting between the Pope and gay couple adds another intriguing twist to the strange aftermath of Francis' first-ever trip to the United States. Since news broke on Tuesday of Francis' meeting with Davis, conservatives have cheered the seemingly implicit endorsement, while liberals have questioned how much the Pope knew about her case.
The two encounters -- one with a gay couple and one with a government official who ardently opposes homosexuality -- have left the Vatican scrambling to issue statements that seek to de-politicize the Pope's meetings and agenda.
- The Shady Group That Played Pope Francis The Daily Beast 10/05/15:
According to Davis’s lawyer, Mat Staver, the meeting came “from the Vatican itself”—which reads as his deceptive way of saying, “Pope Francis didn’t actually invite Davis to the embassy, but someone with Vatican connections did, so we’re going to keep saying Vatican over and over until enough people think the Holy Father actually invited our client to meet him.”
Though many pressed Staver to release the name of the Vatican official, he held out as long as he could until eventually the secret broke. The meeting was initiated by Archbishop Vigano, Vatican ambassador to the U.S., who is a strong opponent of same-sex marriage.
Last spring, for example, Vigano attended an anti-gay rally organized by the National Organization for Marriage. In a press release, NOM called Vigano the “official representative of Pope Francis,” which—as is implied by the designation—they took as a papal seal of approval for their fight against gay marriage. (This is why Vigano has won himself the ire of many Catholics—he should’ve known that when he wades into a culture war, he drags Francis unwittingly with him.)
- Meet Yayo Grassi, the gay man who is friends with Pope Francis Washington Post 10/02/15:
Grassi brought his boyfriend of 19 years, Iwan, and four friends to the Vatican Embassy for a private audience. Grassi, wearing a bright blue blazer, embraced his former teacher, now clothed in white, and then introduced him to Iwan and his friends. When news broke about Kim Davis’s attendance at the Vatican, Grassi decided to speak out. “Although I didn’t know any details, I knew immediately that he had nothing to do with this, that this was arranged by other people without telling him the real character” of Davis, Grassi said. “I received from friends of mine a lot of quite disturbing mail, telling me that ‘This is your pope, look what he did, and he’s a coward,’ and my defense is ‘We don’t know anything. Just wait until things come out.’ And I’m extremely pleased that I was right. And I never had any doubt that I was right.”
Responses & Reactions (Hysterical and Otherwise)
- The Vatican must speak on conscientious objection, by John Allen Jr. Crux 10/02/15:
The bottom line is that the Vatican has thrust itself squarely into the middle of a debate that’s destined to become steadily more intense. The only way out is a thoughtful and clear statement on what exactly the Church understands by “conscientious objection,” and the sooner the better.
If Rome wants to get past Kim Davis and back onto higher ground, that’s the way forward.
- Why the media lost its mind over Kim Davis meeting Pope Francis, by Michael Brendan Dougherty. The Week 10/01/15:
It's not just the scribes in the media who are scrambling for answers. It's Jesuits, too. James Martin, SJ rushes to explain that, in all likelihood, Kim Davis was just another woman presented to the pope. Missing every chance to confront the obvious prejudice surrounding the meeting, he instead clears any potential obstacle to those prejudices. The pope may not know her. The meeting may have been arranged by another bishop. He's just being nice. "Not to put too fine a point on it, but Pope Francis also met Mark Wahlberg, and that does not mean that he liked Ted," Martin concludes.
The last flourish is exquisite for the way it makes the class prejudice explicit. Nothing to see here, folks. Just a vulgar woman who was snuck in. The Holy Spirit is definitely not afoot. It was practically an accident, really. Or perhaps it was some dastardly conservative bishop who allowed the cool pope to embrace someone universally despised by the great and good. She's been married four times. Believe me, if he knew, he'd throw her into the well.
- What to Make of the Pope Francis-Kim Davis Meeting?, by Michael Sean Winters. National Catholic Reporter 10/01/15:
Somebody messed up. A source at the bishops’ conference told me on background that the meeting happened “against the advice of the bishops’ conference.” Other reports in both the Washington Post and the New York Times agree that the meeting was arranged by a “Vatican official.” Seeing as the meeting happened at the nunciature in Washington, it could only have happened with the approval and participation of the nuncio, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano. Perhaps he did not understand how Davis’ case was not really an instance of conscientious objection. Perhaps, he felt sorry for her, as I did, because sending that poor woman to jail was overkill by the judge. Perhaps he did not see how the news of this meeting would trample on the pope’s message and begin to drown out everything else the pope said or did during his six days here....
- What it means that Pope Francis met Kim Davis, by John Allen Jr. Crux 10/01/15:
The fact that the Vatican has chosen not to comment probably means, at least in part, that they don’t want to be dragged into a detailed discussion of Davis’ situation.
That said, there’s no way to view the encounter other than as a broad gesture of support by the pope for conscientious objection from gay marriage laws, especially taken in tandem with his statement aboard the papal plane that following one’s conscience in such a situation is a “human right” – one, he insisted, that also belongs to government officials.
- How Pope Francis Undermined the Goodwill of His Trip and Proved to Be a Coward, by Michelangelo Signorile Huffington Post 09/30/15:
I would have more respect for the pope if he had publicly embraced Kim Davis and made an argument for her, as he did in his visit with the Little Sisters of the Poor, who are battling against filling out a form to exempt themselves from Obamacare's contraception requirement, claiming that even filling out the form violates their religious liberty -- even though I vehemently disagree with the pope on that issue. I'd have more respect if he boldly, explicitly made a public statement (not the vague, general statement he made on his plane on the way home only in response to a reporter's question about Davis), as he did in trying to stop the execution of a Georgia inmate who was put to death this morning. But by meeting with Davis secretly, and then at first having the Vatican neither confirm nor deny the encounter -- and now having the Vatican say it "won't deny" the meeting while it still won't offer any other details -- the pope comes off as a coward.
- The Pope and Kim Davis: Seven Points to Keep in Mind, by James Martin, SJ. 09/30/15:
It’s hard to know how much the Pope Francis knew about each individual who was introduced to him during his long trip to the United States. Did he know much about Kim Davis before meeting her? Was he following her case before he entered the country? Did he learn about the controversy from a local bishop after he arrived? Or was her story quickly relayed to him in a receiving line? And how was it explained to him? "Holy Father, this is Kim Davis who…"
- Jesus and the Woman at the Well: Seven Points to Keep In Mind, by Matthew Schmitz. First Things 10/01/15. "For those wondering what all of this means, it’s probably best not to interpret a meeting that Jesus will not speak about, and also to be careful about swallowing wholesale the interpretation of those who would use this meeting to support their own agenda."
- Fallout from the Francis-Davis Meeting?
, by Robert Mickens. Commonweal 09/30/15:
This new revelation will leave many people scratching their heads in disbelief and wondering what in God’s name Francis is up to. Because throughout his six days in Washington, New York, and Philadelphia he was careful to downplay—and even avoid mentioning—the many hot-button issues that are the bull’s eye of America’s so-called “culture warriors,” for whom Kim Davis has become a celebrity and icon.
Americans who disagree with Davis, including many Catholics, were enraptured with Pope Francis precisely because he did not publicly wade into these issues or lend support to the cause she and her supporters are trying to take forward.
Some of them will now think that the “people’s pope,” as the fawning American media continuously called him during the visit, is either two-faced or being duped by his advisors.