Friday, October 2, 2015

Vanessa Vitiello Urquhart, in SLATE: "Vatican officials engaged in damage control of the highest order today"

It now seems fair to conclude that Pope Francis’ meeting with Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis was a mistake. Vatican officials engaged in damage control of the highest order today, with Reuters reporting one official describing “a sense of regret” over the meeting, which has subsequently cast a shadow over the pontiff’s entire visit. Not-quite-coincidentally, today has also seen new accounts of a second papal meeting being injected into the media bloodstream, this one with Yayo Grassi, an openly gay Argentine man in a committed partnership, who has been described as a longtime friend of Pope Francis’.
You don’t have to fully accept the Vatican account of the meeting, which has suggested that the pope was not well-informed about Davis or her situation, to believe that the Vatican is unhappy about the reaction it has engendered in the press and social media. From their actions, it’s obvious they would prefer to stress the relative openness of the pope toward the LGBTQ community, rather than the church’s official teachings on gender and sexuality. Apparently, the pope would rather be seen as a nice fellow who hugs his gay friends than as a right-wing Davis supporter. For those of us living in America, a meeting with Davis held an obvious and predictable symbolism. Perhaps it was less clear to the pope and his people how much Davis has become a stand-in for everything that divides us.

This damage can't be controlled. All that will be in the history books about Francis's trip will be his secret meeting with the gay-hating KIM DAVIS. Francis, the histories will say, went to the USA to meet covertly with Kim Davis, thereby insulting President Obama and insulting the American Constitutional government. He just thinks he has a bigger theocracy than he does.

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