Wednesday, September 30, 2015

BOMBSHELL: POPE FRANCIS MET WITH KIM DAVIS AT THE VATICAN EMBASSY IN WASHINGTON!

UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE! JOHN ALLEN OF CRUX GIVES HIS OPINION ON WHAT THIS MEETING OF POPE FRANCIS WITH KIM DAVIS MEANS. I POST IT BELOW THIS!

THESE ARE JOHN ALLEN'S FOUR POINTS OF ANALYSIS WHICH IS IN THE COMPLETE ESSAY BELOW:

First, it means that Francis has significantly strengthened the hand of the US bishops and other voices in American debates defending religious freedom.

 Second, Francis may also have smoothed the waters in advance for round two of the Synod of Bishops on the family, which opens on Sunday.
  
Third, Francis has also debunked impressions of a rift with the American bishops when it comes to the “wars of culture.”

 Fourth and finally, the Davis meeting confirms that the US trip amounted to the public debut of “Francis 2.0,” meaning a pope more clearly perceived as standing in continuity with Catholic teaching and tradition, as well as in solidarity both with previous popes and with the bishops.
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This is yet one more example of how an elegant small gesture from the Holy Father, Pope Francis, speaks volumes about natural marriage even in the secular realm.

Lawyer says Kim Davis met with Pope Francis during his visit

Mugshot_of_Kim_Davis,Rowan_County_Clerk
Details from CBS News:  
Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who went to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, met with Pope Francis last week during his visit to the U.S., Davis’ attorney Mat Staver told CBS News.
According to Staver, the two met briefly last Thursday, September 24, at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C.
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.
Staver said the pope also gave Kim and her husband rosaries he had blessed.
Photos of the meeting are in the possession of the Vatican, according to Staver. CBS News is awaiting confirmation of the meeting from Vatican officials.
In a statement released by Liberty Counsel, Davis says she was “humbled” and never thought she would be granted an audience with the popular and unpredictable pontiff. The conservative legal nonprofit said Davis and her husband, Joe, shared face time with Francis at the Vatican Embassy.
She and the pontiff hugged, and he presented her and her husband with two rosaries, which she is giving to her parents, who are Catholic, Liberty Counsel said.
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,” Davis said in the statement. “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.’”
Robert Moynihan at “Inside the Vatican” had this detail (for some reason the link to his site is down, but here’s Moynihan’s account from his regular email):
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.
“Then he said to me, ‘Please pray for me.’ And I said to him, ‘Please pray for me also, Holy Father.’ And he assured me that he would pray for me.”
Joe told Kim that he would give his rosary to her mother, who is a Catholic. And Kim then said that she would give her rosary to her father, who is also a Catholic.
Vatican sources have confirmed to me that this meeting did occur; the occurrence of this meeting is not in doubt.

What it means that Pope Francis met Kim Davis

ROME – If anyone suspected that Pope Francis didn’t really mean the strong words he spoke on religious freedom last week in the United States – that he was phoning it in, while his real concerns were elsewhere – news that he held a private meeting with Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis certainly should lay that suspicion to rest.

The Vatican is not officially commenting on the meeting, which was first reported by Robert Moynihan of Inside the Vatican magazine. A spokesman told Crux on Wednesday that “I won’t say anything,” which, in effect, is a way of allowing the report to stand.

Taken together with his unscheduled stop to see the Little Sisters of the Poor, the Davis encounter means Francis has expressed personal support to leading symbols of the two most contentious fronts in America’s religious freedom debates – the contraception mandates imposed by the Obama administration, and conscientious objection on gay marriage.

Before unpacking what it means, let’s roll out the necessary caveats.

First of all, the fact that someone arranged a brief encounter between Francis and Davis does not necessarily mean that Francis initiated the contact, or even that he necessarily grasps all the dimensions of her case. By her own account it was an extremely brief greeting, just long enough for the pope to tell Davis to “stay strong” and to give her a rosary.

It would be over-interpreting things to read the meeting as a blanket endorsement of everything Davis has said or done.
In addition, we don’t yet know how Francis sees the balance between honoring one’s conscience and upholding one’s responsibilities as a public official, because he hasn’t addressed that question at any length.

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.

So what does it mean?

First, it means that Francis has significantly strengthened the hand of the US bishops and other voices in American debates defending religious freedom.

In the wake of a massively successful trip in which Francis was lauded for his stands on issues ranging from climate change to immigration to fighting poverty, it will be more difficult for anyone to wrap themselves in the papal mantle without at least acknowledging his concerns vis-à-vis religious freedom.
Second, Francis may also have smoothed the waters in advance for round two of the Synod of Bishops on the family, which opens on Sunday.

Last time around, the question of how welcoming the Church ought to be to gays and lesbians was a major flashpoint, in part because conservatives worried it might lessen the Church’s resolve to resist a “definition” of marriage. By holding the Davis meeting, Francis has probably reassured conservatives that he’s not priming the pump for going soft on same-sex marriage.

Ironically, the Davis meeting may actually increase the odds of the synod recommending a more pastoral approach to same-sex relationships, since there won’t be the same fear about where such an opening might lead.

Third, Francis has also debunked impressions of a rift with the American bishops when it comes to the “wars of culture.”

Yes, Francis called the bishops to spurn “harsh and divisive” rhetoric and to embrace dialogue as a method. That does not imply, however, that he believes the substance of their concerns is mistaken, and by meeting both the Little Sisters of the Poor and Davis he drove that point home.

Fourth and finally, the Davis meeting confirms that the US trip amounted to the public debut of “Francis 2.0,” meaning a pope more clearly perceived as standing in continuity with Catholic teaching and tradition, as well as in solidarity both with previous popes and with the bishops.

To put the point in crudely political terms, Francis is a figure who utterly defies the usual left/right divides, equally capable of meeting Kim Davis and embracing poor immigrant children at a Harlem school – seeing both as part of a continuum of concern for human dignity.

That will be a source of consolation to some and consternation to others, but in any event it’s now officially part of the Francis narrative.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I really like the way Pope Francis handled this encounter - the warmth of an embrace, the offering of encouragement, the giving of the blessed rosaries and the humble request for prayer.

Lefebvrian said...

If you're curious, it is the sort of hyperbolic ideas exhibited in your update that causes many to be justifiably reactionary when it comes to news reports about the pope.

Also, it is clear that everyone in the Church save a small few have completely abandoned the Church's teaching on religious liberty in favor of the novel Americanist viewpoint. That is sad because it will surely end badly, as we have already seen glimpses of how that argument fails.

As for the pope's meeting with this lady, that is definitely very positive, and I hope that the media picks up on it.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"Also, it is clear that everyone in the Church save a small few have completely abandoned the Church's teaching on religious liberty in favor of the novel Americanist viewpoint."

And what might you suggest is the Church's teaching on religious liberty that the "novel Americanist" viewpoint doesn't understand?