Pope Francis blotted out the sun last week when he visited the United States for the first time, earning the undying gratitude of liberals everywhere for making sensible statements about climate change and poverty. That undying gratitude died a little this week when it was revealed that Pope Francis met with Homophobe of Arc™ Kim Davis at the Vatican embassy and, according to Davis’ attorney, encouraged her campaign against other people’s marriages:
On Tuesday night, her[Davis’s] lawyer, Mathew D. Staver, said that Ms. Davis and her husband, Joe, were sneaked into the Vatican Embassy by car on Thursday afternoon. Francis gave her rosaries and told her to “stay strong,” the lawyer said. The couple met for about 15 minutes with the pope, who was accompanied by security guards, aides and photographers.
As Ben Cohen ably points out, the Pope’s regressive stances on a variety of social issues are well-known, so any liberals who hopped on the Pope Express because of climate change did so with the full knowledge that he still opposes marriage equality and abortion rights. That didn’t stop a whole bunch of us from being disappointed at the news of Francis’ meeting with Kim Davis. I’ve never been a fan of the Pope or the organized Catholic church, but his influence on climate change is an undeniable good. For others, the disappointment was more emotional, and more personal.
The good news is that, after publicity about Davis’ visit with the Pope stirred up an epic PR shitstorm, the Vatican released a statement clarifying some details about the visit (emphasis mine):
Statement by the Director of the Holy See Press Office
Vatican City, 2 October 2015 (VIS) – The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., today issued the following statement regarding the Pope’s meeting with Kim Davis, an American public official who spent five days in prison for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
“The brief meeting between Mrs. Kim Davis and Pope Francis at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C. has continued to provoke comments and discussion. In order to contribute to an objective understanding of what transpired I am able to 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 D.C. for New York City. 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.
“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”.
This is much more in keeping with the Pope Francis that liberals have come to compulsively geek out about, holding fast to the letter of Catholic social dogma, but just not being a dick about it. The Vatican statement doesn’t necessarily contradict the Davis attorney’s version of the meeting, but makes clear that the Pope wants no part of any attempt to exploit it.