Letter #38, 2015: Kim and Francis








September 29, 2015, Tuesday — Kim and Francis

For there is not any thing secret that shall not be made manifest, nor hidden, that shall not be known and come to light.” —Luke 8:17

Holy Father, you visited the Little Sisters of the Poor and we were told that you wanted to show your support for them and their case in the courts. And, 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?” —Terry Moran, ABC News, asking a question to Pope Francis on the papal airplane during an impromptu airplane press conference, on the evening of Sunday, September 27, just after the Pope left the United States to return to Rome

Conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right. It is a right. 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.” —Pope Francis, answering Terry Moran’s question on the papal flight on September 27

Would that include government officials as well?” —Followup question by Moran

It is a human right and if a government official is a human person, he has that right. It is a human right.” —Pope Francis, answer to the followup question

The Secret Meeting of the Papal Trip

Washington, D.C.

One meeting during Pope Francis’ whirlwind trip to America has remained secret.

Until now.

It was, arguably, the most significant meeting, symbolically, of the entire trip.

It should, therefore, be brought to the attention of the public, both in the Church, and in the secular world.

That the meeting occurred may, perhaps, spark controversy. This is evidently why it was kept secret. The Vatican evidently feared the “politicization” of a “pastoral trip” which clearly wished to emphasize the encounter with Jesus Christ, with the poor, with the faithful, with the handicapped, with children, and with all Americans of whatever background.

But there was also, evidently, a desire to meet with a person who has taken a controversial stand out of conscience.

The meeting is a fact, and facts are the material of which reality is composed, and human beings, though they cannot, as T.S. Eliot said, bear very much reality, strive nevertheless to live in reality. And reality cannot be understood without knowledge of the facts. Of what really happened.

Pope Francis listens as he takes questions from journalists aboard his flight from Philadelphia to Rome Sept. 27. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See POPE-USCUBA-PLANE Sept. 28, 2015.

Pope Francis listens as he takes questions from journalists aboard his flight from Philadelphia to Rome Sept. 27. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

On Thursday, September 24, in the afternoon after his historic address to Congress, just a few minutes before flying to New York City, Pope Francis received, spoke with, and embraced Kim Davis — the Kentucky County Clerk who was jailed in early September for refusing to sign the marriage licenses of homosexual couples who wished to have their civil marriages certified by the state of Kentucky.

Also present was Kim’s husband, Joe Davis.

Kim and her husband had come to Washington for another purpose — Kim was to receive a “Cost of Discipleship” award on Friday, September 25, from The Family Research Council at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.



Thank you for your courage

Pope Francis entered the room.

Kim greeted him, and the two embraced.

There is no recording of this conversation, or photographs, as far as I know. But “there is not any thing secret that shall not be made manifest, nor hidden, that shall not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:17)

Kim Davis gave me this account of the meeting shortly after it took place.

“The Pope spoke in English,” she told me. “There was no interpreter. ‘Thank you for your courage,’ Pope Francis said to me. I said, ‘Thank you, Holy Father.’ I had asked a monsignor earlier what was the proper way to greet the Pope, and whether it would be appropriate for me to embrace him, and I had been told it would be okay to hug him. So I hugged him, and he hugged me back. It was an extraordinary moment. ‘Stay strong,’ he said to me. Then he gave me a rosary as a gift, and he gave one also to my husband, Joe. I broke into tears. I was deeply moved.

“Then he said to me, ‘Please pray for me.’ And I said to him, ‘Please pray for me also, Holy Father.’ And he assured me that he would pray for me.”

Joe told Kim that he would give his rosary to her mother, who is a Catholic. And Kim then said that she would give her rosary to her father, who is also a Catholic.

Vatican sources have confirmed to me that this meeting did occur; the occurrence of this meeting is not in doubt.

Those who have seen the images of the film of the Pope answering the questions of the journalists on the airplane, on the matter of individual conscience, his determination and passion, are persuaded that he had in mind not a theoretical issue of conscience, but a specific person, someone he had met and embraced — someone whose burden, as a loving pastor, he had taken on his own shoulders.

He was thinking of this person when he answered those questions.

Why Did the Pope Meet Kim?

What was the purpose of this meeting?

Pope Francis met with Kim, embraced her, encouraged her, and, on the papal airplane, when asked the question cited at the outset, he stated, very strongly, that “conscientious objection” is “a human right.”

It is not surprising that the Holy Father met Kim Davis. The Holy Father is considered by many to be the father of all Christians. He is a man of compassion, a man ready to listen to and to comfort all who have suffered for their faith.

It was the Holy Father’s explicit request to visit a prison in Philadelphia, and he took the time to speak with each of the 100 prisoners he met on that occasion.

This is the attitude that prompted the Holy Father to receive Kim, who had been in jail. And her response, from the very first moment of the meeting, showing great affection toward the Holy Father, showed that she responded to this desire of his to comfort her.

The meeting with the Holy Father was a moment of consolation to Kim.

It strengthened her conviction, she told me, to obey the law of God, before the law of man.

It is the teaching of the Catholic Church that, when the human law contradicts the natural law, it is not a valid law.

This encounter between Pope Francis and Kim Davis takes on new importance since the ACLU (the American Civil Liberties Union) has asked that Kim be held in contempt of court.

This means that, should the judge agree with the ACLU, Kim could again in coming days be ordered to be held in prison.

In this sense, the Pope on September 24 clearly “wrapped his protective mantle” around Kim Davis, discreetly, in private, in a way completely hidden from the world, but in a way that was deeply moving for her personally, as a person of conscience.

(to be continued)

Here below is a complete transcript of the Pope’s remarks to journalists as he left the United States on Sunday night. The remarks about conscientious objection are about halfway through the press conference.

The transcript is preceded by a brief summary offered by Father Thomas Rosica, a Canadian priest who assists the Vatican’s press office for English-speaking journalists,

I’m not a star, but the servant of servants of God

Pope Francis speaks to journalists aboard the Papal plane

Pope Francis is back in the Vatican after his 10th apostolic journey abroad which took him to Cuba, to the United States and to the United Nations in New York.

During the flight that brought him back to Rome he spoke to journalists aboard the Papal plane, touching on many issues including his just concluded visit, the sex abuse scandal in the Church, the right to be a conscientious objector, a peace accord in Colombia, migration and the upcoming Synod on the Family.

To the questions put to him by 11 journalists in different languages, Pope Francis’ answers ranged from the political to the personal.

Describing his welcome to the United States warm, exuberant and expressive, in one word: wonderful, Pope Francis said the greatest challenge for the US Church is to stay close to the people and accompany them in good and bad times.

Going on to repeat his condemnation of priests who sexually abused children, he point out that sexual abuse is not confined to the Church but that it is worse when committed by men of religion who betray their vocation.

He elaborated on questions regarding the upcoming Synod on the Family pointing out that there is no such thing as a “Catholic divorce” and that the Church has the responsibility of preparing couples much better for their life-long commitment to marriage.

He talked of “Conscientious objection” which, he said, must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right.”

And asked about barriers being but up in Europe to stop the influx of migrants, the Pope said: “All walls collapse sooner or later”. The solution, he said, must be found through dialogue. With barriers – he continued – the problem remains – and with it, more hatred. Finally, noting that he has become a “star” in the United States a reporter asked Pope Francis whether this was good for the Church.

“The media uses this term – he answered – but a Pope is the servant of the servants of God. “How many stars have we seen that go out and fall?” he remarked, “On the other hand, being servant of the servants of God is something that doesn’t pass.

Please find below our translation of the full transcript of the press conference:

Pope Francis:

Good evening to all and thank you for the work because you went about from one place to the other and I was in a car but you… thank you very much.

Elizabeth Dias, Time Magazine:

Thank you so much Holy Father Elizabeth Dias from TIME magazine. We are all so curious…this was your first visit to the US. What surprised you about the US and what was different to what you might have expected?

Pope Francis:

It was my first visit. I’d never been here before. What surprised me was the warmth, the warmth of the people, so lovable. It was a beautiful thing and also different: in Washington the welcome was warm but more formal; New York was a bit exuberant. Philadelphia very expressive. Three different kinds of welcome. I was very struck by this kindness and welcome but also by the religious ceremonies and also by the piety, the religiosity of the people… you could see the people pray and this struck me a lot. Beautiful.

Elizabeth Dias, Time Magazine:

Was there some sort of challenge that you didn’t expect in the United States?

Pope Francis:

No, thank God no…everything was good. No challenge. No provocation. Everyone was polite. No insults and nothing bad.

Elizabeth Dias, Time Magazine:

Well, what is the challenge?

Pope Francis:

We must continue to work with the faithful like we have always done, until now. Accompanying people in their growth – through the good times but also through the difficult ones – accompanying people in their joy and in their bad moments, in their difficulties when there is no work, ill health. The challenge of the Church… now I understand: the Church’s challenge is staying close to the people. Close to the United States… not being a Church which is detached from the people but close to them, close, close and this is something that the Church in America has understood, and understood well.

David O’Reilly, Philadelphia Inquirer:

Holy Father: Philadelphia, as you know, has had a very difficult time with sex abuse. It’s still an open wound in Philadelphia. So I know many people in Philadelphia were surprised that you offered bishops comfort and consolation and I think many in Philadelphia would ask you why did you feel the need to offer compassion to the bishops?

Pope Francis:

In Washington I spoke to all the US bishops… they were all there no? I felt the need to express compassion because something really terrible happened. And many of them suffered who did not know of this. I used words from the bible from Apocalypse: You are coming from a large tribulation. What happened was a great tribulation. But also the suffering (emotional). What I said today to the victims of abuse. I wouldn’t say an apotheosis but almost a sacrilege. We know abuses are everywhere: in families, in neighborhoods, in schools, in gyms. But when a priest abuses it is very serious because the vocation of the priest is to make that boy, that girl, grow towards the love of God, toward maturity, and towards good. Instead this is squashed and this is nearly a sacrilege and he betrayed his vocation, the calling of the Lord. For this reason the Church is strong on this and one must not cover these things up. Those who covered this up are guilty. Even some bishops who covered this up, It is a terrible thing and the words of comfort were not to say: ”Don’t worry that was nothing… no, no, no even some bishops who covered this up, It’s a terrible thing and the words of comfort were not to say “don’t worry that was nothing…no, no , no, but it was so bad that I imagine that you cried hard”… that was the sense of what I meant and today I spoke strongly.

Maria Antonieta Collins, Univision:

You have spoken a lot about forgiveness, that God forgives us and that we often ask for forgiveness. I would like to ask you, after you were at the seminary today. There are many priests that have committed sexual abuses to minors and have not asked for forgiveness for their victims. Do you forgive them? And on the other hand, do you understand the victims or their relatives who can’t or don’t want to forgive?

Pope Francis:

If a person has done wrong, is conscious of what he has done and does not say sorry, I ask God to take him into account. I forgive him, but he does not receive that forgiveness, he is closed to forgiveness. We must forgive, because we were all forgiven. It is another thing to receive that forgiveness. If that priest is closed to forgiveness, he won’t receive it, because he locked the door from the inside. And what remains is to pray for the Lord to open that door. To forgive you must be willing. But not everyone can receive or know how to receive it, or are just not willing to receive it. What I’m saying is hard. And that is how you explain how there are people who finish their life hardened, badly, without receiving the tenderness of God.

Maria Antonieta Collins, Univision:

Regarding victims or relatives who don’t forgive – do you understand them?

Pope Francis:

Yes, I do. I pray for them. And I don’t judge them. Once, in one of these meetings, I met several people and I met a woman who told me “When my mother found out that I had been abused, she became blasphemous, she lost her faith and she died an atheist.” I understand that woman. I understand here. And God who is even better than me, understands her. And I’m sure that that woman has been received by God. Because what was abused, destroyed, was her own flesh, the flesh of her daughter. I understand her. I don’t judge someone who can’t forgive. I pray and I ask God… God is a champion in finding paths of solutions. I ask him to fix it.

Andres Beltramo, Notimex:

Thanks, first of all for this moment. We’ve all heard you speak so much about the peace process in Colombia between the FARC and the government. Now, there’s an historic agreement. Do you feel involved in this agreement and you’ve said that you wished to go to Colombia when this agreement was made, right? Now there are a lot of Colombians awaiting you.

Pope Francis:

When I heard the news that in March the accord will be signed I said to the Lord, ‘Lord, help us reach March.’ The willingness is there on both sides. It is there, even in the small group, everyone is in agreement. We have to reach March, for the definitive accord, which is the point of international justice. I was very happy and I felt like I was a a part of it because I’ve always wanted this. I spoke to president Santos twice about this problem. Not only myself, but also the Holy See. The Holy See was always willing to help and do what it could.

Thomas Jansen, CIC:

Holy Father, I wanted to ask something about the migrant crisis in Europe. Many countries are building new barriers out of barbed wire. What do you think of this development?

Pope Francis:

You used a word, crisis. It’s become a state of crisis after a long process. For years, this process has exploded because wars for which those people leave and flee are wars waged for years. Hunger. It’s hunger for years. When I think of Africa… this is a bit simplistic. But I see it as an example. It comes to me to think about Africa, “the exploited continent.” They went to pick up the slaves there, then its great resources. It’s the exploited continent. And, now the wars, tribal or not. But they have economic interests behind them. And, I think that instead of exploiting a continent or a nation, make investments there instead so the people are able to work and this crisis would have been avoided. It’s true, as I said at Congress, it’s a refugee crisis not seen since World War II. It’s the biggest. You asked me about barriers. You know what happens to all walls. All of them. All walls fall. Today, tomorrow or in 100 years, they will fall. It’s not a solution. The Wall isn’t a solution. In this moment, Europe is in difficulty, it’s true. We have to be intelligent. We must find solutions. We must encourage dialogue between different nations, to find them. Walls are never solutions. But bridges are, always, always. I don’t know. What I think is that walls can last a little time or a long time. The problem remains but it also remains with more hatred. That’s what I think.

Jean Marie Guenois, Le Figaro:

Holy Father, you obviously cannot anticipate the debate of the synod fathers, we know that well. But we want to know just before the Synod, in your heart as a pastor, if you really want a solution for the divorced and remarried. We want to also know if your ‘motu proprio’ on the speeding-up of annulments has closed this debate. Finally, how do you respond to those who fear that with this reform, there is a de-facto creation of a so-called ‘Catholic divorce’? Thank you.

Pope Francis:

I’ll start with the last one. In the reform of the procedure and the way, I closed the door to the administrative path, which was the path through which divorce could have entered. You could say that those who think this is ‘Catholic divorce’ are wrong because this last document has closed the door to divorce by which it could have entered. It would have been easier with the administrative path. There will always be the judicial path.
Continuing with the third (question): the document…. I don’t remember the third but you correct me.

Jean Marie Guenois, Le Figaro:

The question was on the notion of Catholic divorce, if the motu proprio has closed the debate before the synod on this theme?

Pope Francis:

This was called for by the majority of the Synod fathers in the synod last year: streamline the process because there are cases that last 10-15 years, no? There’s one sentence, then another sentence, and after there’s an appeal, there’s the appeal then another appeal. It never ends.

The double sentence, when it was valid that there was an appeal, was introduced by Papa Lambertini, Benedict XIV, because in central Europe, I won’t say which country, there were some abuses, and to stop it he introduced this but it’s not something essential to the process. The procedure changes, jurisprudence changes, it gets better.

At that time it was urgent to do this, then Pius X wanted to streamline and made some changes but he didn’t have the time or the possibility to do it.

The Synod fathers asked for it, the speeding up of the annulment processes. And I stop there. This document, this ‘motu proprio’ facilitates the processes and the timing, but it is not divorce because marriage is indissoluble when it is a sacrament.

And this the Church cannot change. It’s doctrine. It’s an indissoluble sacrament.

The legal trial is to prove that what seemed to be a sacrament wasn’t a sacrament, for lack of freedom for example, or for lack of maturity, or for mental illness. There are so many reasons that bring about (an annulment), after a study, an investigation. That there was no sacrament. For example, that the person wasn’t free.

Another example: now it’s not so common but in some sectors of common society at least in Buenos Aires, there were weddings when the woman got pregnant: “you have to get married.” In Buenos Aires, I counselled my priests, strongly, I almost prohibited them to celebrate weddings in these conditions. We called them “speedy weddings,” eh? (They were) to cover up appearances. And the babies are born, and some work out, but there’s no freedom and then things go wrong little by little, they separate (and say) “I was forced to get married because we had to cover up this situation” and this is a reason for nullity. So many of them.

Cases of nullity, you have, you can find them (the reasons) on the internet there all there are many, eh? Then, the issue of the second weddings, the divorcees, who make a new union. You read what, you have the “instrumentum laboris.” what is put in discussion seems a bit simplistic to me to say that the Synod is the solution for these people and that they can have communion. That’s not the only solution. No, what the “Instrumentum laboris” proposes is a lot more, and also the problem of the new unions of divorcees isn’t the only problem. In the “Instrumentum laboris” there are many. For example, young people don’t get married. They don’t want to get married. It’s a pastoral problem for the Church. Another problem: the affective maturity for a marriage. Another problem: faith. “Do I believe that this is for ever? Yes, yes, yes, I believe.” “But do you believe it?” the preparation for a wedding: I think so often that to become a priest there’s a preparation for 8 years, and then, its not definite, the Church can take the clerical state away from you. But, for something lifelong, they do four courses! 4 times… Something isn’t right. It’s something the Synod has to deal with: how to do preparation for marriage. It’s one of the most difficult things.

There are many problems, they’re all are listed in the “Instrumentum laboris.”
But, I like that you asked the question about “Catholic divorce.” That doesn’t exist. Either it wasn’t a marriage, and this is nullity — it didn’t exist. And if it did, it’s indissoluble. This is clear. Thank you.

Terry Moran, ABC News:

Holy Father, thank you, thank you very much and thank you to the Vatican staff as well. Holy Father, you visited the Little Sisters of the Poor and we were told that you wanted to show your support for them and their case in the courts. And, 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’t have in mind all cases that can exist about conscience objection. But, yes, I can say the conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right. It is a right. 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.

Terry Moran, ABC News:

Would that include government officials as well?

Pope Francis:

It is a human right and if a government official is a human person, he has that right. It is a human right.

Stefano Maria Paci, Sky News:

Holiness, you used very strong words at the UN to denounce the world’s silence on the persecution of Christians, who are deprived of their homes, thrown out, deprived of their possessions, enslaved and brutally killed. Yesterday, President Hollande announced the beginning of a bombing campaign by France on ISIS bases in Syria. What do you think of this military action? Also, the mayor of Rome, city of the Jubilee, declared that he came to the World Meeting of Families because you invited him. Can you tell us how it went?

Pope Francis:

I will start with your second question. I did not invite Mayor Marino. Is that clear? I didn’t do it and I asked the organizers and they didn’t invite him either. He came. He professes to be a Catholic and he came spontaneously. That’s the first thing. But it is clear, heh? And now about bombardments. Truly, I heard the news the day before yesterday, and I haven’t read about it. I don’t know much about the situation. I heard that Russia took one position and it wasn’t clear yet about the United States. I truly don’t know what to say because I haven’t fully understood the situation. But, when I hear the word bombing, death, blood… I repeat what I said in Congress and at the UN, to avoid these things. But, I don’t know, I can’t judge the political situation because I don’t know enough about it.

Miriam Schmidt, German DPA Agency:

Holy Father, I wanted to ask a question about the relationship of the Holy See with China and the situation in this country which is also quite difficult for the Catholic Church. What do you think about this?

Pope Francis:

China is a great nation that offers the world a great culture, so many good things. I said once on the plane when were flying over China when we were coming back from Korea that I would very much like so much to go to China. I love the Chinese people and I hope there is possibility of having good relations, good relations. We’re in contact, we talk, we are moving forward but for me, having a friend of a great country like China, which has so much culture and has so much opportunity to do good, would be a joy.

Maria Sagrarios Ruiz de Apodaca, RNE:

Thank you. Good evening, Holy Father. You have visited the U.S. for the first time, you had never been there before. You spoke to Congress, you spoke to the United Nations. You drew multitudes. Do you feel more powerful? And another question, we heard you draw attention to the role of religious women, of the women in the Church in the United States. Will we one day see women priests in the Catholic church as some groups in the U.S. ask, and some other Christian churches have?

Pope Francis:

He’s telling me not to answer in Spanish (referring to Fr. Federico Lombardi.) The sisters in the United States have done marvels in the field of education, in the field of health. The people of the United States love the sisters. I don’t know how much they love the priests, (laughs) but they love the sisters, they love them so much. They are great, they are great, great, great women. Then, one follows her congregation, their rules, there are differences. But are they great. And for that reason I felt the obligation to say thank you for what they have done. An important person of the government of the United States told me in the last few days: “The education I have, I owe above all to the sisters.” The sisters have schools in all neighborhoods, rich and poor. They work with the poor and in the hospitals. This was the first. The second? The first I remember, the second?

Maria Sagrarios Ruiz de Apodaca, RNE:

If you feel powerful after having been in the United States with your schedule and having been successful?

Pope Francis:

I don’t know if I had success, no. But I am afraid of myself. Why am I afraid of myself? I feel always – I don’t know – weak in the sense of not having power and also power is a fleeting thing, here today, gone tomorrow. It’s important if you can do good with power. And Jesus defined power, the true power is to serve, to do service, to do the most humble services, and I must still make progress on this path of service because I feel that I don’t do everything I should do. That’s the sense I have of power.

Third, on women priests, that cannot be done. Pope St. John Paul II after long, long intense discussions, long reflection said so clearly. Not because women don’t have the capacity. Look, in the Church women are more important than men, because the church is a woman. It is “la” church, not “il” church. The Church is the bride of Jesus Christ. And the Madonna is more important than popes and bishops and priests. I must admit we are a bit late in an elaboration of the theology of women. We have to move ahead with that theology. Yes, that’s true.

Mathilde Imberty, Radio France

Holy Father, you have become a star in the United States. Is it good for the Church if the Pope is a star?

Pope Francis:

The Pope must… Do you know what the title was of the Pope that ought to be used? Servant of the Servants of God. It’s a little different from the stars. Stars are beautiful to look at. I like to look at them in the summer when the sky is clear. But the Pope must be, must be the servant of the servants of God. Yes, in the media this is happening but there’s another truth. How many stars have we seen that go out and fall. It is a fleeting thing. On the other hand, being servant of the servants of God is something that doesn’t pass.



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  1. Margaret E McCarty says

    I am more ashamed of this farce by Francis than I can convey. When I think of how I cheered him and praised him last week, I want to vomit. I was considering going back to church, but this conspiracy to keep such an act quiet while he was here shows that none of you is any different. Liars and cheats, the lot of you. I’d say “shame on you”, but I don’t think any of you know what that is. I have lost ALL respect for him, and the institution, and I’m just the tip of the iceberg coming….

  2. J Wiske says

    As the kids say, “Pics or it didn’t happen.” And even when there are pics, sometimes they’re something completely different like those pics of crowds in Peru that Davis’ Liberty Council lawyers said was a gathering to pray for her.

  3. says

    First of all i thank Almighty God to give us a such a wonderful and powerful Pope Francis is a true servant of the servant of God. I pray to Almighty God to guide and protect him because we need him morw than ever.

    Thank you

  4. Alan says

    If this is true that the Pope met with this nut case clerk who is not what anyone would believe is a true Christian, then my respect for him is gone and what good he may have done during his visit is washed away. Why did they hide this meeting from the press? Any religion that tries to force someone to their faith by whatever means is no better then ISIS . Thought God was the only one to judge, or is that only used when it supports your purpose. This is just sad news for mankind again.

  5. Dan Cobb says

    Well I’m glad to hear the Pope speak of conscientious objectors having a human right to their objections!
    I suppose this means that the Church is no longer ex-communicating individuals for expressing their conscientious objections to church dogma and practice! But I suspect that this hypocritical Pope only means to say that those who oppose policies that are not sactioned by the church have the right to conscientious objector status. And that anyone who has conscientious objections to the dogma and/or practice of the church have no such status.

    The world is being bamboozled by the church yet again…. so typical. I remember the same “excitement” about John Paul II…. and then his papacy just melted into one agonizing slide of dementia and disease.

  6. Dan Cobb says

    My comment is awaiting m*deration, is it? Gee, I wonder how much deference will be given to my “conscientious objections” …. I can just imagine!

  7. Dan Cobb says

    Gee, I wonder how much deference the moderators will give to my “conscientious objections” …. I can just imagine!

  8. Fred McTavish says

    Do you know what you call conscientious objectors during a time when there’s no draft? You just call them civilians; they’re people who don’t agree with war, so they don’t go to war.

    Kim Davis doesn’t have to stay at her government job. She can quit if she wants. Getting paid $80k to not do her job is not conscientious objection.

  9. Bert Sierra says

    Dear Dr. Moynihan —

    I note that in your coverage of the meetings between Pope Francis and press, you are very careful to attribute which member of the press is posing a question. Yet in your writeup of the alleged meeting between Kim Davis and His Holiness there is no attribution of any sort, no source cited. If I might ask, how did you become aware of this meeting?

    In section A14 of today’s New York Times, a story will appear entitled “Kim Davis, Kentucky Clerk, Is Said to Have Met Pope” but is careful to note that the only sources yet reporting this meeting are your article here and Kim Davis’ lawyers at Liberty Counsel who have quoted your writeup.

    I am curious if you could provide further details to reinforce the credibility of your assertions.

    Yours truly,

    Bert Sierra
    Founder of The Link

  10. Anthony Duda says

    The Vatican states that it will “neither confirm nor deny” that The Pope met with Kim Davis, ABC News is reporting. In other words, “No comment”. They state there will be no further comment from The Vatican. Which means no photos that Mat Staver claims The Vatican has in their possession. Why? Because Ms. Davis and The Pope never met, hence no photos. The Vatican does not want to get involved with this ridiculous story, and is washing its hands of it. Strange isn’t it? No one had a cell phone? Considering the media whores Davis and Staver are, they would be chomping at the bit to get the photos out to the public. However, this tale will keep donations coming in, which was the goal.

  11. Tom Buchele says

    For those lapsed Catholics like me who thought this might be a Pope who was really different and ready to embrace the true teachings of Christ, this news is profoundly disappointing. I truly feel manipulated by this man and his handlers. If embracing a hateful person like Kim Davis is what this Pope really stands for, the meeting should not have been secret. This Pope said who was he to judge, but apparently he is fine with Kim Davis judging, and doing so very selectively. Christ specifically rejected divorce, but Davis hands out marriage licenses to divorced individuals like herself without any reservations. She only judges gays and lesbians. And she is not happy with just judging for herself. She wants the right to use her elected office to require all of her employees to enforce her arbitrary judgments. How is that legitimate conscientious objection? The sisters he visited are legitimate conscientious objectors and I disagree with but nevertheless respect their position and the Pope’s decision to publicly visit and support them. Davis is in fact nothing less than an anti-gay bigiot. The Pope’s failure to recognize that and to instead embrace her is in fact very unchristian. I remain very content with my decision not to set foot again in a Catholic Church.

  12. Scott Rose says

    I am contacting all of my elected officials to express my utmost disgust with the poop and his Catholic Church of anti-LGBT hatred. I will urge each of the elected officials I contact to strip the Catholic Church of its tax-exempt status in the United States. I will point to the example of the LDS Church and President Carter telling it that if it didn’t stop discriminating against blacks, it would lose its tax-exempt status.

  13. Nancy D. says

    The Church has always taught that the purpose of ecumenism is to bring others to Christ and His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church:



    When you view man as an end in himself, and fail to recognize man was created for communion with God, anything can become permissible as we declare what is good. This has been the problem from The Beginning.
    A well formed conscience, is one that is formed in communion with God, The Ordered Communion of Perfect Love, The Blessed Trinity.

    Why would you say this:
    Page 117, of the pope’s book, On Heaven and Earth, in regards to same-sex unions
    “If there is a union of a PRIVATE NATURE, THERE IS NEITHER A THIRD PARTY NOR IS SOCIETY AFFECTED. Now, if this union is given the category of marriage and they are given adoption rights, there could be children affected. Every person needs a male father and female mother that can help them shape their identity. – Jorge Mario Bergoglio

    Why not tell the truth and say something like this:

    It is because God Loves you and we Love you and respect your Dignity as a beloved son or daughter, that we cannot condone the engaging in or affirmation of any act, including any sexual act that demeans your inherent Dignity as a beloved child of God. The desire to engage in a demeaning act of any nature, does not change the nature of the act. We Love you, and because we Love you, we desire that you will always be treated with Dignity and respect in private as well as in public. We will not tolerate behavior that does not respect your Dignity as a beloved son or daughter.

    And then, why not make it clear that one cannot be a disciple of Christ if one denies that God Is The Author of Lve, Life, and Marriage.

  14. Jann Coles says

    Thank you so much for sharing this story. So many people are very very encouraged. Thank you for bringing joy and hope to our hearts in America.

  15. Laurence Brown says

    That meeting did not happen. Do you really think that the 78 yr old Pope had time, with that insane schedule and relentless media coverage, to meet with this hypocritical bigot??? No way…not one person can confirm this via pictures/video. Just remember a picture is worth a thousand words, and she can lie til the cows come home…she will just ask her god to forgive her for lying…yet again.

  16. K. McLaughlin says

    I am very disappappointed that Pope Francis chose to meet with Kim Davis, he told her to ‘stay strong’? Strong for what? For her fifth marriage? He supposedly supports loving relationships yet denies our gay brethren the right to be together for life. If the Catholic Church denies these marriages because they cannot procreate I guess my Catholic marriage does not count for much as I married late in life and never gave birth. Kim Davis is the opposite of someone committed to marriage, she was married 4 times….stay strong? Give me a break. So many lapsed Catholics were leaning towards coming back to the church afer his visit, this story will definitely turn off many of those people. Whoever advised the Pope to meet with this woman should be fired. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3219147/Kentucky-clerk-Kim-Davis-married-FOUR-times-gave-birth-wedlock.html

  17. Nightowl223 says

    Every single news report I have seen, other than this, not only has links to credible sources, but includes telling tidbits like”

    “Davis told…”

    “Davis’ lawyer told…”

    This does NOT pass the smell test, nor does it survive Occam’s Razor.

    ‘ “I cannot not deny the meeting took place but I have no comments to add,” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said in Italian Wednesday. ‘ “Cannot not deny?” – If that is a direct quote, the double negative means “I can deny,” does it not?

    ‘ “Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi did not deny the meeting took place but would not comment further.’ This is not a confirmation, this is likely that he briefly met so many people that they don’t know if she was included in the masses he met or not.

    Someone who’s broken Catholic law as often as she has is someone the Pope would want to meet?

    And someone who’s in a religious sect that doesn’t even believe Catholics are really Christians would want to meet the Pope?

    And all of this being claimed by a lawyer who’s an admitted liar, and we’re supposed to believe it?

    And, with the Pope’s visit covered in minute detail by not only our media but the Vatican’s own media, as well, but we’re supposed to believe this media hound’s meeting with him was secret?

    Sorry, no. I don’t buy it. As the saying goes, “pics, or it didn’t happen.”

  18. Jack Riesch says

    My wife and I had planned on going back to the church but now, in light of the Pope’s taking sides with the prejudiced right wing Americans against gay marriage,We’re back to being atheists.

  19. Mary Ann Foster says

    I am very sad that this meeting took place. The message to gay and lesbian couples and individuals had been one of compassion until this meeting. They are God’s children, made in His image and likeness. This meeting now has clouded and immersed the message of compassion with politics and pre-Vatican II condemnation.

    • BrianA_MN says

      This is a great article which again shows that Pope Francis is a son of the Church who is not changing any doctrines. Meeting with any person and having compassion for them and their situation is exactly the steps we all need to embrace. We can not continue to label people, or continue to burden them with morals they committed in the past, because we are not the judge, God reserves judgement to himself. We are called to love one another as Christ has loved us. We are called to forgive, as Christ has forgiven. We are called to accept all the children of God (in whatever mature or physical state they are). This is the message of the Gospel, that Christ has died for our sins that we might be forgiven. Now the question is will we also accept and love as Christ did? Viva Papa Francis.

  20. Mark Hiser says

    I was deeply saddened by the meting Pope Francis had with Kim Davis. That meeting was a slap in the face to the Supreme Court of the United States, to the American ideals of equality under the law, to the American belief that we are a land of many held together by law, to the diversity of love, and to the LGBT community.

    That meeting is clearly a statement to gays and lesbians that they are deserving of second class citizenship; they should not be viewed as equals under the law. That meeting is clear statement that the love between persons who are gay or lesbian is wrong, evil, and a lie. That meeting sent a message to Americans that that one’s personal beliefs take precedent over law, even laws that grant equality and civil rights to a minority group. That meeting was a statement that Davis was in the right not to do her government job even though most adults know they can get a new job if the one they have no longer suits their values.

    This pope has done much that is good, but this is one of those times when he caused great hurt and great harm.

  21. says

    Thank you, Dr. Moynihan, for this meaningful report. Thank you!

    We could see much of Pope Francis’ visit via internet and Fox News. We live in Costa Rica where my husband has been a missionary since 1950 with the Evangelical Methodist Church of Costa Rica.

    Pope Francis is an amazing Servant of God! I wish he could have met my husband because he, too, is a Servant of God. Many people have called him the Missionaries’ Missionary. Marion will be 97 on November 15th. God has been good to us. We are honored to serve our Living Lord.

    I especially liked Pope Francis’ message on Families which he shared at the Festival of Families in Philly! Just wonderful.

    We are all in the Family of God. May we live as Children of the Most High God.

    Blessings! Or we say here, Que Dios lo bendiga!

    Mary Maria and Marion Franklin Woods

    Facebook: MaryMariaRussellMillerWoods

  22. christina naidoo says

    Regarding the comment that the pope’s meeting with Kim Davis was a “…slap in the face” to the Supreme Court: the Supreme Court needs a good “slap in the face” . Thank you to Kim Davis. Wish there were more people like her.

  23. James Fischer says

    Wasn’t an audience at all. It was a receiving line-style meeting in a room full of people with just enough clout or connection to get in the door. This was as much an endorsement of Kim Davis and her backward craziness as it was a papal renunciation of purgatory.

  24. stephen says

    I wonder if she was trying to get her prior marriages annulled?? Pope Francis is a perfson of love and courage. Kim Davis is neither