Recently, news that renegade Kentucky clerk Kim Davis had been secreted into the Vatican Embassy with her fourth husband for a private meeting with Pope Francis on his recent visit to the United States has cast a caustic shadow over what was otherwise a widely--bipartisan, multifaith--celebrated tour. Reports from Davis' camp that the pope thanked her for her courage and told her to remain strong before presenting her with two rosaries was latched onto by conservatives, who were disappointed by Pope Francis' avoidance of issues like marriage equality and abortion, while the secretive nature of the meeting angered liberals, leading some to level the charge of cowardice against the religious leader. Today, the Vatican, who typically like to remain above polarizing national politics, issued a statement distancing the pope from Kim Davis and her case.
According to the statement presented by the New York Times, Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said:
"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."
He then clarified that the invitation had been issued not at the pope's request, and not at the initiative of the Holy See in Rome, but by the Vatican's embassy in Washington, D. C.:
"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 New York Times reports that another Vatican spokesman, Rev. Thomas Rosica, added:
"I would simply say: Her case is a very complex case. It's got all kinds of intricacies. Was there an opportunity to brief the pope on this beforehand? I don't think so. A list is given -- these are the people you are going to meet."
Therefore, the story that emerges is just another chapter in the strange saga of a seemingly insatiable egotist. As many have pointed out, for someone who claims to be serving a higher power, Davis and her lawyers have exhibited an incredible capacity to make everything about her--they are even comfortable, it would seem, hijacking a historic visit by the spiritual head of more than 1 billion people to feed her vanity. All that remains to be seen now is how her camp will once again distort reality to keep her in the spotlight.