Kim and Francis

Timothy Kincaid

October 2nd, 2015

Kim Davis

Kim Davis and her attorneys have been making quite a big deal about her meeting Pope Francis. (Washington Times)

“I was humbled to meet Pope Francis. Of all people, why me?” Mrs. Davis said in the written statement. “I never thought I would meet the Pope. 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.”

She continued: “Pope Francis was kind, genuinely caring, and very personable. He even asked me to pray for him. Pope Francis thanked me for my courage and told me to ‘stay strong.’ “

From the descriptions given by Davis and Mat Staver, her counsel, you’d think this was an intimate and meaningful meeting in which the two shared their souls and pledged to fight together for their cause. Clearly the pontiff endorses Davis and her actions and encouraged her to fight on.

But knowing Staver’s history of less-than-factual statements and Davis’ gift for histrionics, something felt a bit contrived about their reporting.

We’ve all been in a receiving line of some sort or gone to a book signing or met for a moment with our Congressman. And while in the thrall of the experience we may think, ‘ohmigod, Taylor Swift was so nice to me’, by the time we got home we realized that she has no clue who we are, doesn’t recall the 10 seconds she gave, and has no opinion about us at all.

This felt like that. I certainly didn’t think it was some special audience with the Pope or any endorsement of Davis and her recalcitrance. That didn’t seem realistic.

Charles Pierce, writing in Esquire, looked further and speculated that the meeting was a set up contrived by Staver and Archbishop Carlo Vigano to play up Davis’ drama and tarnish Francis’ image, a position which was echoed by sources close to the Vatican.

In April, in a move that was unprecedented, Vigano got involved with an anti-marriage equality march in Washington sponsored by the National Association For Marriage. (And, mirabile dictu, as we say around Castel Gandolfo at happy hour, one of the speakers at this rally was Mat Staver, who happens now to be Kim Davis’s lawyer.) In short, Vigano, a Ratzinger loyalist, who has been conspicuous and publicly involved in the same cause as Kim Davis and her legal team, arranges a meeting with Davis that the legal team uses to its great public advantage.

Whether or not Pierce’s speculation has any merit, the result was embarrassment for the Pope and disappointment for Catholics who had hoped that Francis’ visit would usher in a less politically antagonistic relationship between the Church and the LGBT community. Taken together with a vague answer to questions about matters of conscience, it appeared that the Pope was endorsing Davis’ behavior.

Fut finally the Vatican has released a statement responding to the Davis’ self-aggrandizement and the answer is, more or less, “Kim who?”.

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 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 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.

So there it is. Davis was part of a receiving line and got a rosary and a few moments of Pope Francis’ time. She, and her legal team, decided to spin that meeting into something that it was not.

As for the Pope’s only official audience? At present, it appears that it was with someone who does not share Davis’ position at all. (CNN)

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.


Liberty Counsel is now claiming that the Vatican is lying

Despite a statement this morning by a Vatican official, the Pope’s own words about conscientious objection being a human right and his private meeting with Kim Davis indicate support for the universal right of conscientious objection, even for government officials. The meeting with Kim Davis was initiated by the Vatican, and the private meeting occurred at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, September 24. This meeting was a private meeting without any other members of the public present.

In short, Staver and Davis are asking you not to take the Vatican’s word for what the Pope supports but to take the word of two Protestants who have a history of stretching the story. I’ll let you decide who to believe.


October 2nd, 2015

It’s only a matter of weeks until she is booked for Dancing with the Stars.

Regan DuCasse

October 2nd, 2015

omg…Jack!! The thought made me nauseous!

Eric Payne

October 2nd, 2015

I’d prefer next seson’s Survivor: Let Jesus Provide where Davis and her team are given, not a beach but, a rock in the Pacific Ocean that has neither water nor vegetation.

As opposed to previous Survivors, this is a two episode season: in Episode 1, the castaways are dropped off. In Episode 2, the production team comes back 39 days later to see if there’s a champion.

Priya Lynn

October 2nd, 2015

“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.”.

Him talking about all the “particular and complex” aspects of her position implies a significant degree of familiarity with her, not a situation where she was one of many people he was nice to and he didn’t really know who she was.

Priya Lynn

October 2nd, 2015

I don’t trust the pope any more than Kim Davis and her lawyers. There will always be a great deal of suspicion about what actually went on between them.

Ben in oakland

October 2nd, 2015

The claim about the meeting being initiated by the Vatican might well be true, if Charles pierces analysis of the situation is correct. However, it was done without the collusion of the pope, and on the initiative of one of his underlings, Who apparently had his own agenda in mind.

As for liberty counsel claiming that the Vatican is lying, what else can they do or say? Because the only other obvious conclusion is that liberty counsel is lying.

Of course, I’m going to leave out the third explanation, which is Brian fissure,s. To wit, The gay mafia and the Gaystapo is now so powerful that we can even bend the Pope to our will. Because if that were the case, I saw some very nice paintings and pottery at the Vatican in April, and I would love to have them in my living room

Frank DeFrancesco

October 2nd, 2015

Thank You for a balanced report on the developments.

Jim Burroway

October 2nd, 2015

I would always caution that when talking about “the Vatican,” we are never speaking about a singularity. It’s about as singular as “the Congress” or “Hollywood.” As is the case with the latter two institutions, the Vatican, collectively, with a wide variety of individuals, some with scruples and some without, some whose sense of mission is greater than their own ambitions and some whose personal ambitions are all that matter.

The Vatican is populated with selfless servants, and with egotists that would make Hollywood blush and political opportunists that could show Congress a thing or two. And there are about twenty times as many agendas at the Vatican as there are angels dancing on the head of a pin.

Priya Lynn

October 2nd, 2015

Who’s this Jim Burroway guy? I don’t think I’ve seen him on here before.

Steven Barton

October 3rd, 2015

Staver: “This meeting was a private meeting without any other members of the public present.”

One could also say that a private party at the White House with the President, of say, 100 invited guests, was “a private event without any other members of the public present.”


October 3rd, 2015

I don’t understand why the conservatives remain afraid of this Pope and, especially, try to undermine him.

Francis is known to be well aware of the probable brevity of his reign, and the consequent need to accomplish his particular goals quickly.

It seems to me that if he intended to do the things and make the changes conservatives fear, they would be well underway by now.

But they aren’t, and there’s real no sign of them looming ahead.

In their stead, Francis has simply created an avuncular new veneer to paste on the church, and left the structure beneath unchanged; I’d say that he has no further plans of much significance. Indeed, he seems not to be a very imaginative man anyway.

If there is any truth to this, the conservative hyperventilation is really puzzling. And really silly.

Ben in Oakland

October 3rd, 2015

Soren, they are still hyperventilating over Vatican II. So this is no surprise. They got their way with JPII and Benny the ratz, and as they see religion losing some of its privileged position in the west, they are fearful it comes to them next.

I have read plenty from conservative catholics who feel that the pope is dangerous, and plenty from other hyper-conservatives, usually virulently antigay, who also fear that any avuncular attitudes are a harbinger of changing church doctrine.

I think the reason for it is fairly simple. No other major religion, apart from the Mormons who really aren’t Christians anyway, has a formal, autocratic leader who has lifetime tenure. It is very easy for them to concentrate their fears on one man.

Troy Conrey-Pereira

October 3rd, 2015

Honestly, whether the pope is openly bigoted or a closeted bigot makes no difference to me and this argument is just semantics. Either way he’s a bigot. It seems Kim Davis and her attorneys are adamant though.


October 4th, 2015

Priya Lynn: “Him talking about all the “particular and complex” aspects of her position implies a significant degree of familiarity with her. . . .”

Not necessarily. It’s also a way of saying “I don’t know what’s going on here and I don’t want to get involved.” Referring to the “particular and complex aspects” doesn’t mean he knows what they are.

Jim Burroway: Thank you. That’s a point I’ve been trying to make for a while: the Vatican is probably, even among large institutions, one of the most political places on earth — everyone has an agenda. And the pope is not a dictator — he has to take these agendas into account, if for no other reason than the example of what the Anglican Communion is dealing with these days — I doubt he would welcome, for example, the African bishops threatening to break away.

Priya Lynn

October 4th, 2015

Hunter, I don’t think you can know her position is “complex” without knowing something about it. I can’t see him referring to her position that way if he was largely unfamiliar with it.

Ben in oakland

October 4th, 2015


The same way that can refer to God and his message to the world without knowing a thing about it.

Personally, I think the mention of complexity was shorthand for saying that they didn’t know a thing about it.

Priya Lynn

October 4th, 2015

I just don’t see how you can know the situation is complex if you don’t know anything about it. Certainly I would never call a situation complex (or simple) if I knew nothing about it. Maybe you and Hunter would.

Ben in oakland

October 4th, 2015

No, I’m am saying that the Catholic Church would, because that is what is expedient for them to say in order not to commit to anything at all.

Look at what they did with the simple idea that we are none of us perfect.

Priya Lynn

October 4th, 2015

I think it would have been more expedient to simply say “this should not be considered support for her position.” rather than “this should not be considered support for her position in all of its particular and complex aspects.

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