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Friday, October 02, 2015

The Vatican, Kim Davis, Post-Francis

If more draperies start coming down from the Vatican regarding Francis + Kim Davis, I'm going to give Christo a call.  He's likely to have enough material to swaddle the Grand Canyon when all this is over.  

The Vatican has issued an official fig leaf today in the form of a letter.  Weaselly-worded, it nonetheless attempts to put distance between The Supreme Pontiff and the esteemed Mrs. Kim Davis (by the way, I hope we are soon shed of her photos with face to the heavens and outflung arms, as if she's about to break into "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina"). Now the Vatican is pushing back that they never granted Mrs. Davis a real audience, nor spent any substantial time with her.  By the way, my father (who grew up in the most Baptist of churches) had an audience with Pope Paul, at the end of WWII.  He was with his fellows in the Navy, and spent little time with His Holiness, but it was still an audience.  I wish I had that picture today: I still can't get my mind around the fact that  Dad--whose fellow churchgoers spoke in tongues and handled snakes, though he didn't care for all that "damnfoolishness"-- has been the only one I ever knew who got to stand at the Rock of Saint Peter.

Anyhow, this story is now starting to strike something of a minor chord on the level of Clinton vs. Monica Lewinsky, minus the naughty bits and blue dress. The Vatican says that Mrs. Davis was only part of a meet and greet line, that there was no secret visit arranged ahead of time.  Her lawyers and Mrs. Davis contend otherwise.  It's starting to boil down to a "he said, she said" situation so far.  In addition, Rome has trotted out a "some of my best friends are gay" story, describing a meeting between Francis and a friend in a same sex relationship, in order to show how tolerant is the Bishop of Rome.  I have no doubt he tolerates gay people, but I would wager he thinks they are committing mortal sin, too. It doesn't surprise me that he maintains the Church's condemnation of marriage between people of the same sex, though his "Who am I to judge" statement made me feel a glimmer of hope.  What does surprise me--though I should have been a bit more skeptical--is that the good Pope Francis seems to speak out of both sides of his smiling mouth, when I'd hoped otherwise.

So which one is lying, or at least telling half-truths--the Vatican, or Mrs. Davis and friends, or both?  Wouldn't Mrs. Davis and her lawyers have a lot to lose if they fabricated an entire scenario?  The credibility in this case is self-inflicted, so to speak, but she's an "eye of the tiger" now for bigots and hatemongers, and fabricating a Papal meeting out of whole cloth would toss another shovelful of utter foolishness on top of the steaming pile. I don't put it past them to deliberately hallucinate anything, but I'm also not buying the Vatican's attempt to cover its own nakedness.

I don't believe for one minute that the Pope had no idea who she was.  Why, then, would he do something that the Vatican has not denied at all: praise her for her courage and tell her to stand strong in her faith, and to pray for him?  We will never really know, because the Vatican can create as many fig leaves as they want.  They've been doing that for centuries and are masters at that sort of thing.  I don't care if Mrs. Davis sailed out of the Rockettes kick line to clasp hands with the Pope for a millisecond.  His statement shows awareness of who she is, and what she stands for. If he had no idea who she was, he would have shaken her hand, prayed, and given her a rosary (he passes them to everyone: someone in his entourage must have the equivalent of a brimful Hefty bag). To paint him as someone who didn't know makes him look like a naive and unquestioning lunkhead--which I hope he is not.  Granted, the College of Cardinals tried to vote in a successor for Benedict who had the least skeletons under his miter, but I doubt they wanted a completely witless one to boot.

I will give the Vatican the benefit of the doubt that meeting with Mrs. Davis was not a show of support for her particular cause, but it was surely a sign of support for HER--and by default, her cause.  Will the circle be unbroken?  Time will tell.