That old tangled web
Posted October 7, 2015on:
Good Afternoon Widdershins!
It’s been a few days since Pope Francis left the U.S. and he certainly left a swirl of stories and confusion behind him. One of those stories concerned his meeting with Rowan County (Ky.) court clerk Kim Davis.
The story of the meeting was first made public in Inside the Vatican in a story written by Robert Moynihan. There was no official record of the meeting because it was more of a “meet and greet” visit. However, lil Kim recalls it this way:
“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.
Now we already know that this Pope is a hugger; kissing the ring doesn’t seem to be high up on his list. He also said to lil Kim: “Pray for me.”. Again, that’s not unusual for this Pope to ask that of anyone that he meets. Still, this meeting caused a lot of questions to be asked such as: “Who arranged the meeting?”, “How did Francis hear of Kim Davis?”, “Where did the meeting occur?”. As more information came out about the “meeting”, we found out who was doing the publicizing and it was that good old hate group Liberty Counsel, the same group that’s been
raking in the money, uh, defending Kim:
Matt Staver, a Liberty Counsel lawyer, told Time magazine that he, Davis and Vatican Embassy officials began discussing a possible meeting on Sept. 14. The Sept. 24 meeting lasted about 15 minutes, prior to the pope flying from Washington to New York.
Now, besides being part of a hate group, and we also know now that Matt Staver is a liar.
Kim Davis’ lawyer stood onstage in a Washington D.C. hotel and pointed to a photo on the screen. It showed 100,000 people packed into a Peruvian soccer stadium, Mat Staver told the crowd, all there to pray for the Kentucky clerk battling against gay marriage.
The crowd erupted.
It wasn’t true.
Staver’s firm, the Liberty Counsel, which revealed Davis’ secret meeting with Pope Francis, has been accused by advocacy groups of peddling misrepresentations in the past. Yet it has become the main source of details about the controversial pope meeting.
Online sleuths quickly debunked the Peru story Staver told at the Values Voter Summit, a conference for the conservative Family Research Council. The photo was from a year-old gathering unrelated to Davis, who spent five days in jail for defying a court order and refusing to license gay marriages. Staver could provide no evidence of a massive Davis rally. On Monday, he called it a mistake and blamed miscommunication with the Peruvian authorities who gave him the photo.
There was an excellent piece on this meeting written by Fr. James Martin, SJ. and brings out some salient points that you can read at the article but one of them being:
It’s ill advised to use a private visit with the pope to make political point. It’s also unfortunate that after the pope’s visit, during which he sought to reconcile divisions, during which he explicitly lamented political polarization in his speech to Congress and during which he sought to show how foolish the “culture wars” are, that his meeting with Ms. Davis may be used to score political points.
When all the uproar finally sunk through to the Vatican they finally had to release a statement about the meeting.
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.
Ah poor Kim! Can’t get no respect anywhere. But wait! Let’s rub some salt into the wound.
Pope Francis privately met with a gay couple last week while visiting Washington, D.C., according to several news reports Friday.
Yayo Grassi, an openly gay Argentine-American caterer who lives in the Washington area and is a former student of the pope’s, met with Francis at the Apostolic Nunciature one day before the pope met Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who has been at the center of a national controversy over her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Joining Grassi was his boyfriend of 19 years, Iwan. (and here’s some salt Kim)
The Associated Press reported Friday that the Vatican confirmed Francis had met with a “gay former student and his partner.”
This must have sent Matt Staver and L.C. over the edge because they felt the need to issue their own story of what happened between lil Kim and Francis despite the Vatican saying it was a meet and greet.
The Liberty Counsel didn’t back down at all. They argued that Pope Francis made clear in an interview that he does in fact support their client by virtue of the fact that he supports conscientious objection.
Staver argued that whether or not his story was factually accurate, it was symbolically accurate: Pope Francis supports conscientious objection, and since the Liberty Counsel sees Davis as a conscientious objector (many disagree with that assessment, by the way), then they don’t think it’s a lie to present Francis and Kim’s meeting the way they have.
To put it in theological terms, the Liberty Counsel expects us to ignore the letter of what they say and pay attention to the spirit of what they say. This explanation is an odd strategy for, you know, attorneys. “Your honor, you’re getting tripped up here on the evidence! Look at the big metaphorical picture!”
Well we now know that Staver met with Carlo Maria Viganò, the papal nuncio to the United States and these two were involved with setting up the meeting. We also know that Benedict (the widow Ratzinger) appointed Viganò as secretary of the governorate of Vatican City State. And when Francis was made Pope he cleared Viganò out and sent him to the U.S. Said Staver:
Mr. Staver said a conservative deacon, Keith Fournier, introduced him to Archbishop Viganò back in April before speaking at a National Organization for Marriage rally on the Washington Mall in opposition to same-sex marriage. As Mr. Staver descended from the stage, Archbishop Viganò made a point to “thank me for my message,” the lawyer said.
It figures that Staver was at a N.O.M. rally. This is the group that believes you can “pray the gay away” and you can be changed to heterosexuality by “conversion therapy”.
Lastly, two things: I wrote that Liberty Council is considered a hate group and that designation is from The Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC says it ” does not classify religious groups as hate groups simply because they believe or preach that homosexuality is sinful (religious groups have a protected right to that belief) but because they propagate known falsehoods, and often employ’ groundless name-calling.’.”
And the second thing is this from James Martin who wrote the article linked to earlier:
Most of all, despite what Ms. Davis said, a meeting with the pope does not “kind of validate everything.” Again, the pope meets with many people, some of whom he may know well, others of whom may be introduced to him as a reward for long service, and perhaps others who will use a meeting to make a political point. Meeting with the pope is a great honor, but it does not betoken a blanket blessing on “everything” one does. Not to put too fine a point on it, but Pope Francis also met Mark Wahlberg, and that does not mean that he liked “Ted.”
Consider this a completely wide open thread. Don’t feel as if you need to confine yourself to the topic . Take the discussion wherever you wish.
42 Responses to "That old tangled web"
Comments are closed.