The joy that came from the pope’s highly anticipated visit to the United States was tainted by the confusion of the pope’s meetings with both Kim Davis and a gay couple. The two encounters left the Vatican scrambling to issue statements to quiet the confusion.
The pope has been an insightful, progressive leader so far, but this controversy has temporarily replaced his good deeds as the topic of discussion. He met with a government official, Kim Davis, who is vehemently opposed to homosexuality; he then met with an openly gay former student and friend and his partner. Why? And what does Kim Davis have to say about these two encounters?
The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor-at-large at America Magazine said, “The pope meets with all sorts of people on his trips and that such meetings are not an ‘endorsement’ of anything.” But according to Davis and her lawyers, the pope agreed with Davis’s refusal to issue same sex marriage licenses and offered his support. Vatican spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi, contradicted Davis’s claim by issuing a statement that the pope’s meeting should not be considered a form of support for Davis’s position. The statement did not directly say he supports same sex marriage, but there have been many times when he has shown acceptance and kindness to the gay community.
Although church teachings have not been changed to depict same-sex relationships as anything other than sinful, Pope Francis has many times emphasized acceptance over judgment. For instance, when he famously said, “Who am I to judge,” in reference to gay priests who seek to do God’s will, he proved just how progressive and accepting he is even in a position of strict rules about issues like homosexuality.
The openly gay friend with whom the pope met defended the pope and is cited as saying he believes the pope was “misled” into meeting with Davis, a statement Davis and her lawyers would have the public believe is false.
Why the pope met with Kim Davis may never be revealed, but the truth is that his meeting with Davis and the openly gay couple confused many Catholics everywhere. It leaves the public wondering if it is possible that Pope Francis is sympathetic to both sides and how the Vatican will recover from this.
-by Amanda Perucci, PRSSA General Member
All blogs are written by general members of UAPRSSA and Capstone Agency.