Like many others who watched the TV news as Pope Francis visited the US in the last week of September, 2015, I was thrilled about how well his introduction to our country and its peoples seemed to go. I genuinely enjoyed observing him take extra time to interact and touch children with special needs. Here was an important religious leader who was reaching out and touching the hearts of many with humility, his kindness, generosity, love along with his gracious words of tolerance, acceptance and inclusion. He managed to spend ample time with the homeless and prisoners. He presented himself as the epitome of one providing service with selflessness.
He lifted our spirits only to have them dashed when the story became public about Pope Francis having a meeting with Kim Davis. Ms. Davis is the Kentucky clerk who recently became a cause célèbre for the right when she was jailed for contempt because she refused to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples, as required by law, due to her religious faith. In addition, she barred her other employees from doing this task.
The tale of this meeting does not end here. After a lot of research and collection of data, I was able to put the pieces of a puzzle together to detail a more fleshed out story. This will not diminish the fact that the meeting took place but it does allow for the very real possibility that Pope Francis was innocent and that he may have been deliberately set up by the conservative wing of his church.
And here is the rest of the story….
Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born on 12/17/1936 where he grew up in Argentina’s cosmopolitan city, Buenos Aires. His Italian parents fled Italy when Mussolini came to power. The family moved to Flores, a solidly middle-class neighborhood.
Mark Binelli writes about Jorge Bergoglio who became the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church, in a 1/28/14 Rolling Stone article, titled, “Pope Francis: The Times They Are A-Changin’:”
“Bergoglio studied chemistry at a technical school, worked in a laboratory, moonlighted as a bouncer at a Buenos Aires bar, loved soccer and dancing the tango. Then, at 17, while meeting some friends, he walked past a church and had an epiphany. In an interview with a Buenos Aires radio station, Bergoglio described feeling “like somebody grabbed me from inside and took me to the confessional. . . . While I was there I felt that I had to become a priest, and I didn’t doubt it.”
(This man rose through the ranks of the church to become to become Pope Francesco (Francis) on March 13, 2013 which was a complete surprise to himself.) The Rolling Stone story continues:
“By all accounts, the papal conclave that elevated Bergoglio assumed it was electing a fairly anodyne compromise candidate. Cardinals liked the idea of a pope from Latin America, one of the Church’s leading growth markets. They also responded well to a stirring three-minute speech Bergoglio gave during the conclave, in which he said the Church, in order to survive, must stop “living within herself, of herself, for herself. But he gave no other indication that he’d be any kind of change agent.”
(The Hardliners within the Vatican Walls quickly regretted this vote.)
” By eschewing the papal palace for a modest two-room apartment, by publicly scolding church leaders for being “obsessed” with divisive social issues like gay marriage, birth control and abortion (“Who am I to judge?” Francis famously replied when asked his views on homosexual priests) and – perhaps most astonishingly of all – by devoting much of his first major written teaching to a scathing critique of unchecked free-market capitalism.”
“Even before the ordinance Pope Francis, the Vatican had been rife with infighting and strife among the Vatican insiders.”
The following information is from Bishop Accountability.org/ Leaks Reveal Bitter Vatican Power Struggle, by Ella Ide, Daily Star, May 29, 2012:
“A group of cardinals has begun to act on a very ambitious aim: to take the secretary of state, and then, conquer the conclave (the assembly which elects a new pope) with a chosen pope among them,” said La Repubblica newspaper.”
“The leaked documents have shed light on many Vatican secrets, including the Church’s tax problems, child sex scandals and negotiations with hardline traditionalist rebels.”
“Although they do not reveal any great surprises, the secret papers have lifted the lid on deep-seated venom among rival figures in the Vatican.”
“Leaks in January revealed a bitter battle between Bertone and Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano,who had been attempting to clean up the Vatican’s finances when he was removed from his post.”
“Vigano wrote to the pope and begged not to be punished for rooting out examples of favours, waste and financial mismanagement which set the Vatican back millions of euros (dollars) in higher contract prices — but to no avail.”
“What is worse is that this letter was leaked to the Italian press!”
This is when the Archbishop Carlo Vigano was relocated to Washington DC to be the Papal Nuncio which is a prestigious assignment but not equal to his prior job as the Vatican’s mayor.
The Papal Nuncio in his Washington DC post, Carlo Vigano has let his hardline attitude effect how he manages same-sex marriage issues in the United States.
LGBT Catholic advocates who spoke to BuzzFeed News which published their story by J. Lester Feder on 8/27/15 tell the following:
“Several archdioceses have recently imposed policies restricting teachers in Catholic schools from expressing support for marriage equality and several have fired gay and lesbian faculty members who have married. But advocates said they knew of no other archdiocese that required parents of students to sign what they say amounts to a morality agreement.”
“The new policy comes shortly before Pope Francis is due to visit the United States and attend an event called the World Meeting of Families, and LGBT advocates say this new policy appears to be a direct attack by Paprocki on Francis’s more inclusive tone towards LGBT people. There has also been a wave of firings of LGBT faculty from Catholic schools ahead of the pope’s visit, including a teacher at a primary school just outside Philadelphia with the blessing of Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput. The Philadelphia Archdioceses will host the pope’s visit to a church-organized World Meeting of Families at the end of September.”
“This is clearly the rejection of children of same-sex couples and contradicts the welcome that all should experience in our church,” wrote leaders of the LGBT Catholic organization Dignity USA, in a letter protesting the policy to the pope’s representative to the United States, Apostolic Nuncio Carlo Maria Viganò. The group noted that the pope has said that baptism should not be denied to the children of same-sex couples and the same logic should dictate welcoming these children into Catholic schools.”
“Paprocki became infamous among LGBT Catholics after he held an “exorcism” service as Illinois Governor Pat Quinn enacted a marriage equality law in 2013. Dignity USA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke told BuzzFeed News that Paprocki and the Philadelphia Archbishop Chaput are “choosing their moment to roll [hardline policies] out on the eve of the pope’s visit to the U.S.” to send a message to the pontiff.”
Next onto the stage of life, enters the attorney for Kim Davis, Matthew Staver, president of Liberty Counsel, and author of the 2004 “Same Sex Marriage: Putting Every Household at Risk.”
The news and its partnership with Davis have thrust the organization into its most visible perch to date, bringing Liberty Counsel within proximity of a global celebrity on the most publicized trip of his papacy. “I am fully aware of the timing,” Staver said, adding later, “I understand it’s a huge event.”
This is what Terrence McCoy writes about Liberty Counsel in a 9/30 Washington Post article:
“But among critics, the mounting prominence of Liberty Counsel has resurrected the ghosts of past battles in which they say the group veered from religious activism to demagoguery and defamatory rhetoric against gays. This is a group that has advocated gay conversion therapy. It’s a group that fears opening up the Boy Scouts to gay scout leaders has forged a “playground for pedophiles.” A group led by a man who links promiscuity with homosexuality.”
“The group, which launched in 1989 and has ties to the late televangelist Jerry Falwell Sr., has long straddled the fault lines dividing American society on gay rights, endearing it to some and riling others.”
“But now, amid historic support for same-sex marriage Liberty Counsel also represents how such groups are trying to reframe the debate on terms more sympathetic to their cause. It’s no longer about marriage equality. It’s about religious freedom.”
“What they’re saying isn’t just matters of opinion,” said Mark Potok, a senior fellow of the Southern Law Poverty Center, which in 2010 designated Liberty Counsel a “hate group.” “These are falsehoods, and have the effect of defaming a very large group of people which has the opportunity to subject them to violence. It gives people permission to believe that gay people are insidious characters who deserve to face violence.”
Wikipedia reports the following:
“Staver received his B.A. in theology from Southern Missionary College, his M.A. in Religion from Andrews University, and his J.D. from the University of Kentucky. He has argued before the Supreme Court of the United States twice and has argued before most of the federal court of appeals. Staver served as Liberty University’s law school dean from 2006 to 2014”
“He authored nine books, including Faith and Freedom: A Complete Handbook for Defending Your Religious Rights, Religion and the Future of America, Religious Expression in Public Schools, Judicial Tyranny; Political Activity of Nonprofit Organizations, Union Membership and its Constitutional Implications, Take Back America, and Same-Sex Marriage: Putting Every Household at Risk.”
NOW THE PLOT THICKENS …as both religious hardliners, the attorney, Mark Staver and the Papal Nuncio, Carlo Vigano, meet in April, 2015.
Jason Horowitz in the 10/2/15 NY Times article writes the following about this introduction:
“Mr. Staver said a conservative deacon, Keith Fournier, introduced him to Archbishop Vigano back in April before speaking at a National Organization for Marriage rally on the Washington Mall in opposition to same-sex marriage. As Mr. Staver descended from the stage, Archbishop Vigano made a point to “thank me for my message,” the lawyer said.”
THE STAGE IS NOW SET FOR THE FINAL ACT….
Fortuitously, the attorney, Matthew Staver met his “made to order” client Kim Davis around the beginning if September, 2015.
This is what Brian Tashman of the “Right Wing Watch” writes on Thursday, 9/3/2015:
“Davis has now become a figure that Liberty Counsel uses to claim that Christians in America are not only facing oppression, but have no need to follow the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage. If Davis can defy the courts, Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver argues, then other elected officials can turn their counties into “sanctuary cities” safe from gay marriage. “If they come out with a decision that is contrary to God’s natural created order,” Staver said before the court ruled in Obergefell, “I personally will advocate disobedience to it … and collectively, we cannot accept that as the rule of law.”
Then comes the miraculous opportunity for the religious right to color the debate around “religious freedom” and to undermine the same-sex marriage equality law by arranging a “greet and meet” between Pope Francis and Kim Davis. And so, the Papal Nuncio, Carlo Vigano extended an invitation to Kim Davis to be included in an audience group of Catholics.
After this fateful time spent between Pope Francis and Kim Davis in September 2015, it was her lawyer, Matthew Stover who leaked this story for the mutual self serving purposes of himself, his client Kim Davis and the Papal Nuncio, Carlo Vigano to the detriment of Pope Francis’ message of tolerance and inclusion.
The Pope, his message, the Catholic LGBT families, the LGBT community in general and peoples like myself who were uplifted by his demeanor have been grievously harmed by these hardliners’ Machiavellian orchestration of these events.
To counter the continued escalation of this story, the Vatican has released press reports indicating that Pope Francis was completely unaware of circumstances surrounding Kim Davis; has detailed the interaction as being brief because he had many other waiting visitors to greet; explained that he does not want this event to reflect the Pope’s implicit approval of her actions; explained that the invitation was not from the Pope; and that the Pope did personally invite a former gay student and his family to spend some real personal time with him during his US visit.
In 2016, when the Papal Nuncio, Carlo Vigano turns 75 years old, he will have to tender his resignation which will be accepted with no allowance for exceptions.
Dear Reader, Please believe that it is possible for Pope Francis to be an innocent party in this tale of subterfuge and intrigue?
UPDATE: This blog was updated on 10/4/15.
Accused of fabrication, the lawyer representing Kim Davis … news.nationalpost.com/…/accused-of-fabrication-the-lawyer…10/4/15- Staver’s firm, which revealed County Clerk Kim Davis‘ secret … Online sleuths quickly debunked the Peru story Staver told at the Values Voter …
‘This is not like him’: Kim Davis meeting shocks Pope … http://www.theguardian.com › World › Pope Francis –10/04/15 – Grassi said that after the Davis story came out and he was contacted by the media, he thought: “Perhaps this is the time to defend him.