Kim Davis and her so-called furtive meeting with Pope Francis was confirmed by the Vatican – one day after Davis’ lawyer revealed that the Kentucky clerk met with the Holy Father. But at the same time, the Vatican quickly dismissed reports that the visit was an exchange of support, deflating those buoyed by the claims Davis and her lawyer made, that Pope Francis told her to “stay strong” in her sustained posture against gay marriage.
Writes The New York Times on Oct. 2, via MSN News: “Pope Francis’ encounter with Kim Davis last week in Washington, which was interpreted by many as a subtle intervention in the United States’ same-sex marriage debate, was part of a series of private meetings with dozens of guests and did not amount to an endorsement of her views, the Vatican said on Friday.”
“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,” Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said in a statement released this morning.
According to Lombardi, Davis’ interaction with Pope Francis was more of a meet-and-greet than a formal move by the Vatican to support Davis and her actions.
“Pope Francis met with several dozen persons who had been invited by the Nunciature (Vatican embassy) to greet him as he prepared to leave Washington for New York City,” Father Lombardi said. “Such brief greetings occur on all papal visits and are due 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.”
That former student turns out to be Yayo Grassi, an openly gay Argentine who met Pope Francis with his longtime partner.
The Associated Press explains the significance behind the statement that the “only real audience” the Pope granted was this gay student and his family:
An audience differs from a meeting in that it is a planned, somewhat formal affair. Popes have audiences with heads of state. They have meetings and greeting sessions with benefactors or Catholic VIPs. So the fact that Lombardi described Grassi’s encounter as the only “real audience” in Washington made clear that Francis wanted to emphasize that encounter over Davis’ “brief meeting” with several dozen other people invited to the embassy at the same time.
Davis, 50, would not be budged from her moral and religious platform regarding gay marriages, and was ordered to jail by a federal judge who found Davis in contempt. Davis had consistently rebuffed granting marriage licenses to homosexual and lesbian couples – despite the fact the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriages in late June.
The Apostolic, born-again Christian told U.S. District Judge David Bunning at the time: “You can’t be separated from something that’s in your heart and in your soul,” she said, adding that the Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing gay marriage is anathema to her vows made to God. “I promised to love Him with all my heart, mind and soul,” Davis said, quoting the Scriptures, “because I wanted to make heaven my home.”
After serving five days in jail, Davis – who is an elected official and cannot simply be fired – was released and vowed to not interfere with her deputies, who had been ordered by Davis to stop issuing all marriage licenses.
“I never imagined a day like this would come, where I would be asked to violate a central teaching of Scripture and of Jesus Himself regarding marriage. To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience,” Davis said in early September.
Matt Staver, Davis’ attorney and the founder of the Liberty Counsel, revealed Tuesday night that Pope Francis had met with Davis on Sept. 24 during the Pope’s stateside visit.
“Staver said Pope Francis spoke to Davis in English and asked her to pray for him. He said Davis, in return, asked the pope to pray for her. The pope told her to stay strong, according to her lawyer,” CBS reported. “Staver said the Pope also gave Kim and her husband rosaries he had blessed.”
According to the AP report, Staver said an unnamed Vatican official contacted Davis on Sept. 14, the day she returned to work as the Rowan County clerk. Staver reported that Vatican security “picked up her and her husband from their hotel and told her to change her hairdo so she wouldn’t be recognized since the Vatican wanted the meeting kept secret.”
Adds the Christian Post: “Davis herself later added that the Roman Catholic Church leader thanked her for her courage and told her to stay strong. Francis was also asked about Davis on his flight back to Rome on Monday. He admitted that he did not know the details behind the case, but argued that ‘conscientious objection’ is a ‘human right, and if a government official is a human person, he has that right. It is a human right.’”
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Do you think Kim Davis and her camp are misrepresenting her meeting with Pope Francis?