Pope Francis, who could have headlined Woodstock in ’69, just wrapped up a rockstar tour of the United States.
He did all of the awesome things we’ve come to expect from the coolest pope since the first century, and returned to Rome on Sunday night after five days of flawless existence.
Then, on Sunday, the lawyer of 14th Amendment-violating desk peasant Kim Davis claimed His Holiness had participated in a private meeting with the embattled Kentucky county clerk. Most people doubted the validity of his claim, and rightfully so. Having been out of the spotlight for several weeks, Davis had every reason to fabricate relevance.
And yet, they actually did meet.
But why? What reason could the Pope have to meet with someone who illegally declines same-sex marriage licences in staunch opposition to Francis’ progressive stance on LGBT rights, hangs out with Mike Huckabee, and isn’t even Catholic?
“Of all people, why me? I never thought I would meet the Pope. Who am I to have this rare opportunity?” queried the clerk.
Indeed. Fantastic questions, Kim. Probably the best critical thinking you’ve done in years.
Details of the meeting, which lasted less than 15 minutes, are scarce. Davis’ lawyer, Mat Staver, said the Pope blessed her, thanked her for her courage, and told her to stay strong. A Vatican spokesperson offered no comments at all beyond confirming the meeting took place.
Waiting until Sunday to release this info acknowledges that associating with Davis during the U.S. tour would take away from the Pope’s message “of unity and reconciliation, not combativeness.” You know, the kind of goal that wouldn’t be achieved by meeting with “the foremost fighter against violations of religious liberty.”
Francis is a 78-year-old man whose responsibilities include solving systematic sexual abuse at work and dropping progressive rock albums; he doesn’t have time to repeatedly answer, “Why’d ya meet with Kim Davis anyway?” By all means, keep distractions like this private until you’ve dipped.
But again: why meet with this woman at all, especially since Francis is apparently relatively unaware of details surrounding the whole Kim Davis saga (so was this an inside setup by one of the Pope’s PR men?) . An ABC reporter did allude to it in an interview, though, to which Francis gave a refreshing pacifist response. Per The Atlantic:
ABC’s Terry Moran: “Holy Father, do you also support those individuals, including government officials, who say they cannot in good conscience, their own personal conscience, abide by some laws or discharge their duties as government officials, for example in issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. Do you support those kinds of claims of religious liberty?”
Pope Francis: “I can say the conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right,” the pope answered. When pressed as to whether this also included government officials, he added, “It is a human right and if a government official is a human person, he has that right. It is a human right.”
That’s a hell of a lot better than what previous popes might have said, probably something along the lines of “the Catholic church believes marriage can only exist between a man and a woman; go Kim Davis!”
Pope Francis is still about as awesome as a Pope can get, but just remember, he’s still a Pope.