Never in my lifetime both as an atheist and Catholic have I seen a Vatican that was so ambiguous in its communication than now. In the past, the Vatican was careful with how it conducted “business” with the outside world including how the Pope interacted with others.
One would never see St. Pope John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI or any of their predecessors photographed or even having a meeting with someone who is publicly and aggressively at odds with the Church. Today, pro-abortion nuns, transgender people and others are meeting with the Pope at the Vatican and elsewhere. Recently, reports that Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis met with the Pope were circulating on social media. The lawyers for Davis claimed that the Pope requested to meet her. Immediately, many voiced their skepticism of this meeting. Others became upset with the Pope for meeting a “homophobe.” However, Davis released photos of papal rosaries given to her and Vatican spokesman Fr. Lombardi acknowledged that there was a meeting but would not go into detail. Within a few days, Lombardi had a news conference and clarified that the meeting between the Pope and Kim Davis was not in support of her position; namely, her stance on religious freedom and conscientious objection.
“The brief meeting between Mrs. Kim Davis and Pope Francis at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, DC has continued to provoke comments and discussion. In order to contribute to an objective understanding of what transpired I am able to clarify the following points:
Pope Francis met with several dozen persons who had been invited by the nunciature to greet him as he prepared to leave Washington for New York City. Such brief greetings occur on all papal visits and are due to the pope’s characteristic kindness and availability. The only real audience granted by the pope at the nunciature was with one of his former students and his family. 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.” Fr. Lombardi’s statement
Lombardi downplayed the meeting as just a brief greeting, nothing more. He stated that the real audience was with a former student of the Pope and his family. What Lombardi left out was that this “family” is a gay union. This student of the Pope has a male lover. They even posted a video of the meeting with the Pope hugging both gay men.
— meta (@metaquest) October 3, 2015
Video: #PopeFrancis met w/ gay couple (one is HH’s former student) in official private audience http://t.co/GP2Ngdha9F #PopeInDC #PopeInUSA
— Tuyet N. T. (@tatn) October 3, 2015
There are a lot of things to look at here that I do not even know where to begin. The confusion with this whole matter is just absurd.
- First it is said that the Pope requested the meeting with Davis and told her “be strong.”
- Next, it is said that no such meeting happened. If he did meet with her and told her “be strong,” to what was he referring to? What is she to be strong against?
- Then it is said that it did happen but that the Pope does not support Davis. However, the Pope took time to meet the Little Sisters of the Poor which was interpreted as a form of support after they have been back and forth in US courts over “obamacare.
- So what exactly does the Pope support? Again, why did he allegedly tell Davis to “be strong?” If a meeting is not support, then what is?
Fr. Rosica stated that one has to ask the Washington Nuncio as to why Kim Davis was invited to greet the Pope in a dismissive tone. No one seems to know anything concretely. Moreover, Lombardi stated that the real audience with the Pope was the one with the student who is gay and has a male partner. He said it as if it was not scandalous. It strikes me odd because before the Pope came to the United States, Obama had selected members of the LGBT community and a pro-abortion nun to meet Pope Francis. The Vatican had issue with this, but apparently this meeting with a gay couple was no big deal.
What is going on? Is the Vatican now supporting same-sex unions? Is the Vatican against religious freedom and conscientious objection?
I understand that the Pope wants us to be merciful and reach out, but what is he doing to call these people to repentance? In the Sacrament of Penance, we receive mercy but also are called to avoid the repeating the sins we have committed and were absolved from. The Pope has shown mercy to these LGBT people, so where is the call to them to repent and live chaste lives? The actions of the Vatican and even the Pope are putting us Catholics against each other. One side is saying that the Church is changing and the other side is saying that it is becoming apostate. Again, what is going on? How can I as a future priest, apologist and evangelist or other Catholics teach the faith that calls us to have mercy and also admonish the sinner when we have our leaders seemingly turning a blind eye to those who are publicly and proudly sinning?
The Anglican/Episcopal denominations already tried the mercy without repentance tactic and both are dissolving as I write this. England’s archbishop of Canterbury is in talks to dissolve the denomination into a confederation of groups in order to stay alive. Is this what is in store for the Catholic Church?
This whole thing is troubling indeed. I have people telling me that I am wrong for telling LGBT people to live chastely because Pope Francis has not judged them and that I should not “judge them” as well. The Catholics who are preaching the Gospel and teaching the catechism are now being accused of being heretical and “bad Catholics.” What is going on? I feel like a messenger who gave a message and then the one who sent me to give the message changed it making me look bad or like I have just given a bad message.
Moreover, many honest people wanted to meet the Pope during his visit. My own nephew sent him two letters, one to the Vatican and another to the nunciature in Manhattan, New York. He has not heard one peep out of the Vatican or the Pope. Not even a birthday greeting since the Pope came during his birthday. Yet, the Vatican and Pope makes the time to call and meet with people who are openly defying God’s law and making a mockery out of him.
Something has to give at the Vatican and with the Papacy. Pope Francis needs to explain what this mercy thing he preaches really means. All this time I thought it was meeting the sinner where he or she is at, forgiving him or her and telling him or her to sin no more. I thought it was was a call to follow what Ephesians 4:24 says and what the late Cardinal Egan used as his motto, “and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” Rest assured the Vatican and Pope Francis will be getting a strongly worded letter from myself. I advise other Catholics to do the same. This misguided compassion and mercy that leads to endorsement of sin must end now.
UPDATE OCTOBER 3 2015:
According to new reports, the gay former student of Pope Francis is an atheist named Yayo Grassi. Grassi claims that the Pope called him three weeks before the trip to the USA and that he knew of his gay relationship but never said anything negative, not even one comment. Grassi stated that he wanted the world to see who the Pope really is.
Breaking: Vatican says Pope’s meeting with Kim Davis is NOT to be considered a “form of support of her position…” http://t.co/YkDfYAbLlb
— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) October 2, 2015
#KimDavis & Joe Davis waited in a room at Vatican embassy & took pictures before Pope arrived w/ photographers. pic.twitter.com/gt3UBKz1PB
— Liberty Counsel (@libertycounsel) October 2, 2015
Vatican denies Kim Davis’ meeting with Pope Francis indicates support http://t.co/XaNbGf1jjy pic.twitter.com/4k1kIUjDXI
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) October 2, 2015
‘Sense of regret’ in Vatican over pope meeting with gay marriage opponent: http://t.co/nhcLs8axDx pic.twitter.com/2qjkDxe7Ap
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) October 2, 2015
Vatican official says there is “a sense of regret” that Pope Francis met with Kim Davis: http://t.co/5ZcAYUT6mL pic.twitter.com/OWxpyi0bpY
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) October 2, 2015
BREAKING: Vatican confirms pope met with gay former student and his partner in new twist to Davis affair.
— The Associated Press (@AP) October 2, 2015