Media Melts Down Over Pope/Kim Davis Meeting

Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

pope francis wavingSince news broke on Monday about the Pope meeting with Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis who chose jail rather than issue same-sex marriage licenses, the secular media is apoplectic over the destruction of the fairytales they created about the Holy Father’s supposed liberal bend.

According to Newsbusters, the far-left MSNBC brought on two virulent pro-gay activists last night who complained bitterly about how disappointed they were by the pope’s decision to meet privately with Davis during his brief visit to Washington DC last week.

On the show, Daily Kos columnist Shaun King was joined by the notorious anti-religious bigot Dan Savage who commiserated with one another about what this might mean about the pope’s views on gay marriage.

Speaking with remarkable clarity, King admitted that while he was “deeply disappointed” by the meeting, he believed liberals had been “reading too much into what the Pope thinks about gay marriage and the LGBT community in general.”

He compared the visit to the pope meeting with George Zimmerman, the man who was acquitted last year of the murder of Trayvon Martin in Florida.

“[T]he Pope meeting with Kim Davis would be like the Pope meeting with George Zimmerman. I mean, it is pretty shocking and for me and for so many of my friends, it was a deep disappointment.”

Savage, whose obscene comments about the Bible have sparked controversy around the country, took it much further and accused the Vatican of pretending to be more relaxed about same-sex marriage than it really is.

“I think it’s very revealing,” Savage said about the meeting. “You know, the Pope has said the church needs to de-emphasize social issues, needs to not just talk about gay marriage and abortion, but this secret meeting where he encouraged this woman to continue to discriminate against LGBT couples and then framed her as a conscientious objector….I think it really reveals what goes on with the Catholic church under the Pope, which is that this de-emphasizing of these social issues is . . . it’s kind of a smoke screen that the Pope still believes these things, the church – the church said it is not going to change its position on same sex marriage, but then for the Pope to turn around and meet with someone like Kim Davis, and tell her – and encourage her to keep it up, keep discriminating against LGBT couples, it just shows that the church wishes it could engage in this activity[.]”

kim davisAccording to lawyers at Liberty Counsel, a public interest law firm that is representing Davis, the pope met with Davis and her husband, Joe, at the Vatican Embassy in Washington DC on September 24. He gave each of them a blessed papal rosary after encouraging them to stay strong. During the brief meeting, the two embraced and promised to pray for each other.

“I was crying. I had tears coming out of my eyes,” Davis said in an exclusive interview with ABC News. “I’m just a nobody, so it was really humbling to think he would want to meet or know me.”

Davis told ABC the meeting came about after she received a surprise phone call from a church official who invited her and Joe to Washington DC for the meeting.

This incensed many in the mainstream media which has been routinely distorting Pope Francis’ words and intentions to make it seem as though he’s more liberal than he really is.

They were even more alarmed during a press conference onboard the papal plane to Rome when Pope Francis told Terry Moran of ABC News that conscientious objection is a human right, even for government officials such as Kim Davis.

“Conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right. It is a right,” Francis reportedly said. “And if a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right. Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right, a human right. Otherwise we would end up in a situation where we select what is a right, saying ‘this right that has merit, this one does not.’ It (conscientious objection) is a human right. It always moved me when I read, and I read it many times, when I read the ‘Chanson de Roland’ when the people were all in line and before them was the baptismal font and they had to choose between the baptismal font or the sword. They had to choose. They weren’t permitted conscientious objection. It is a right and if we want to make peace we have to respect all rights.”

When a reporter asked him to clarify whether he believed government officials should be allowed to disobey the law because of their beliefs, the pope said, “I can’t have in mind all cases that can exist about conscientious objection . . .” then added, “conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right.”

The New York Times (NYT) desperately tried to make excuses for the meeting, saying it could have been more about conscientious objection than Kim Davis. They went on to applaud the pope for what they believe was his avoidance of “incendiary talk” about same-sex marriage during his U.S. visit. The fact that the entire visit, couched in the context of the World Meeting of Families, which is a meeting initiated by the Catholic Church to celebrate the traditional family, appears to have been lost on the NYT.

While they admit that during his final Mass in Philadelphia, Francis said that God is revealed through the “covenant of man and woman”, they also cite what they construed as “a more welcoming tone” when the pope said: “Anyone who wants to bring into this world a family which teaches children to be excited by every gesture aimed at overcoming evil — a family which shows that the Spirit is alive and at work — will encounter our gratitude and our appreciation. Whatever the family, people, or religion to which they belong!”

Obviously, because he was speaking in the context of Catholic beliefs, “whatever the family” refers to families comprised of a single parent, widows or widowers, parents with adopted children, etc. Only the desperate NYT would construe this to be a  possible hint at same-sex families.

Meanwhile, the Vatican wisely issued a statement saying they will neither confirm nor deny the meeting between Francis and Davis and informed reporters that they will be giving no further information about it.

With the Synod only days away, this type of hyper-ventilating over Francis’ position on social issues is bound to intensify. The faithful are best advised to be very scrupulous when it comes to where they get their news for the next two weeks. If it’s not coming from a Catholic source, it’s probably suspect.

UPDATE 10/02/15: Because of the uproar over this visit, the Vatican has issued a statement saying that the Pope met with several dozen persons, one of whom was Kim Davis, who had been invited by the Nunciature to greet him in Washington and that these brief greetings are customary and “are due to the Pope’s characteristic kindness and availability,” says Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi. “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.”

Note that he said it did not support her position “in all of its particular and complex aspects”. Davis was invited for a reason, which means some of the particulars about her were indeed known at the time of the invitation. This suggests that at least some of the “particular and complex aspects” of her case were known and approved of by the Church – which only makes sense as Catholics do not recognize same-sex marriage.

Beware that some outlets are already running misleading headlines about this statement – such as this one found in the Daily Mail which states that the Pope’s meeting was not a form of support for her opposition on same-sex marraige – which was not at all what the Vatican said.

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