Examining Pope Francis and his alleged visit with Kim Davis.
The Pope’s visit to the United States was two weeks ago and people are still talking about the tour and the significance of his trip to Washington, D.C., New York City, and Philadelphia. With great reverence also comes great controversy, however, as details of Pope Francis’ private meeting with Kim Davis, the Tennessee County Clerk who was jailed for refusing to perform the duties of her job and issue marriage licenses to gay couples under the context of personal religious beliefs, have come to light in various news sources since the Pope returned to the Vatican. Many have been in an uproar over the meeting, especially considering the meeting was arranged by an Archbishop. Davis, who is not Catholic, is seen by many in the Christian right as a religious martyr, someone jailed for their beliefs. The rest of the country sees her as a bigoted civil servant refusing to do the job that she was elected to do, in unopposed election after unopposed election.
The Vatican was hesitant to release the details of the meeting, particularly since the media backlash and the vocal concern from Catholics across America who support the rights and equalities of the LGBT community. Once it was released that the meeting was arranged by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano at the Vatican embassy, an online petition calling for his resignation and removal from his duties has been signed by over 34,000 people, Huffington Post reported.
While it is no secret that Pope Francis is against same-sex marriage, the Pope has worked diligently to steer away from public messages of condemnation, instead preaching love, compassion, and acceptance despite disagreement over the issue. Many, however, saw the details of the Pope’s meeting with Kim Davis as a statement by him and the Catholic church in support of Davis’ stance of discrimination against fellow Americans who have been granted the right to marry after the Supreme Court’s decision in June, which stated that preventing same-sex couples from getting married was unconstitutional, and therefore unlawful, also indicating that any state that held a same-sex marriage ban was violating the U.S. Constitution. While there are many court cases and lawsuits to be settled in the future concerning states that currently do have marriage bans, many were concerned that the so far extremely liberal and progressive Holy Father was making a distinct statement about his view of the LGBT community.
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) October 3, 2015
When it comes down to it though, it’s very important to remember the context in which the meeting between Kim Davis and Pope Francis was held. It has also been revealed that the Pope met with a former student and friend who is gay on the same exact day as when he met with Kim Davis. Both meetings were held at the Vatican embassy, one on personal invitation from the Pope himself, one on an invitation by an Archbishop who works closely with the embassy. Pope Francis met with many other people privately at the Vatican embassy on that same day. It’s the equivalent of having a friend with backstage passes inviting you to come meet the band after the concert. Pope Francis didn’t necessarily want to meet with Kim Davis, but he was doing it because it was part of the job, just like its part of the job for The Rolling Stones to meet with high-paying fans after their shows.