Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Attempted Vatican 'coup' rooted in accuser's setup of pope's meeting with clerk who refused to issue same-sex licenses

Pope Francis and County Clerk Kim Davis (Images from CNN)
For an archbishop whose accusations are splitting the Roman Catholic Church, his unhealable breach with Pope Francis began when he arranged for the pope to meet the rural county clerk who had gone to jail for contempt of court after she refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses, reports Jason Horowitz of The New York Times.

"An abuse survivor with whom Francis has spoken at length said the pope recently told him" that Archbishop Carlo Viganò, then the papal nuncio (ambassador) to the U.S. "nearly sabotaged the visit" of the pope in 2015 by arranging a meet-and-greet with Kim Davis, the clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, the Times reports. Davis said Francis told her, "Thank you for your courage." But the Vatican said later that the meeting shouldn't be considered an expression of support for her stand. Davis, a former Democrat, is running for re-election this fall as a Republican.

Abuse victim Juan Carlos Cruz quoted Pope Francis as saying of Davis and Viganò, “I didn’t know who that woman was, and he snuck her in to say hello to me — and of course they made a whole publicity out of it. And I was horrified, and I fired that nuncio.” Actually, as CNN reports, "Two years later, Francis quietly accepted Viganò's resignation. . . . During his trip to the United States, the pope had tried to stay above the country's culture wars. Viganò foisted Francis right into the fray."

Viganò (Pool photo by Rex Arbogast)
Last week Viganò wrote a 7,000-word letter that called for the pope's resignation, "accusing him of covering up sexual abuse and giving comfort to a ' homosexual current' in the Vatican," Horowitz notes. "The letter exposed deep ideological clashes, with conservatives taking up arms against Francis’ inclusive vision of a church that is less focused on divisive issues like abortion and homosexuality. But Archbishop Viganò — who himself has been accused of hindering a sexual misconduct investigation in Minnesota — also seems to be settling old scores. . . . Known for his short temper and ambition, Archbishop Viganò has clashed with superiors who stunted his ascent in the church and has played a key role in some of the most stunning Vatican scandals of recent times."

Francis said, "I will not say a single word about this. I believe the statement speaks for itself. And you have the sufficient journalistic ability to make your conclusions. It's an act of trust." CNN Religion Editor Burke writes, "While journalists dig for the truth, and the pope keeps silent, Vigano's letter has emerged as a sort of Rorschach test for Catholics: Many conservative Catholics say the pope must go. Liberal Catholics accuse the archbishop of launching a coup d'etat against his boss."

UPDATE, Sept. 2: Viganò is contradicting the pope's account of the Washington meeting, saying "The pope knew very well who Davis was, and he and his close collaborators had approved the private audience." At the meeting, Viganò wrote, Francis "embraced her affectionately, thanked her for her courage and invited her to persevere."

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