Wednesday, September 30, 2015

DignityUSA Responds to News of Meeting Between Pope Francis and Kim Davis

A statement released earlier today by DignityUSA is one of the most succinct responses yet to news of the secret September 25 meeting between Pope Francis and Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who briefly went to jail for refusing to issue civil marriage licenses to same-sex couples and thus attempting to force her religious beliefs onto others.

Following is DignityUSA's media release in its entirety.

DignityUSA, the leading organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Catholics, responded to the Vatican’s confirmation that Pope Francis had met with Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis with dismay.

“The news that Pope Francis met with Kim Davis while failing to respond to repeated requests for dialogue with LGBT Catholics and their families will be deeply disappointing to many Catholics, gay, trans, and straight alike,” said DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke. “It may be seen as putting the weight of the Vatican behind the U.S. Catholic bishops’ claims of victimization, and to support those who want to make it more difficult for same-sex couples to exercise their civil right to marriage. This encounter could, in many people’s minds, transform the Pope’s US trip from a largely successful pastoral visit to the endorsement of an exclusionary political agenda.

“I fear that this meeting and claims that the Pope told Ms. Davis to ‘stand strong’ will embolden the many US bishops and others who continue to try to turn back support for LGBT people. It will make even more of us feel like the Pope’s message of mercy and love was not meant for LGBT people and families. It points again to the deep divide between Catholics who affirm and support their LGBT family members and friends, and the hierarchy, which is tragically out of touch,” continued Duddy-Burke.

"It would be helpful for the Vatican to be more forthcoming about the circumstances that led to this meeting, and what the Pope hoped to convey in his discussions with Ms. Davis,” said Duddy-Burke.

In July 2015, DignityUSA, GLAAD and over 30 endorsing organizations sent a letter to Pope Francis, urging him to meet with LGBT Catholics and their families during his U.S. visit. The letter cited the “enormous pastoral crisis” with regard to LGBT people and the grave damage being done to LGBT youth as compelling reasons for this dialogue. The letter was followed by several petitions urging that such a meeting take place. No response was received from the Vatican.

“We still believe that for the Pope to hear the stories of LGBT Catholics and our families would be a key step in reversing the official Church teachings that damage so many people,” said Duddy-Burke. “In fact, his meeting with Ms. Davis makes this even more urgent. We have people in Rome right now, on the eve of the Synod of the Family reconvening, who would be happy to talk with the Pope if he’s willing to take a small step towards righting this injustice.

Related Off-site Links:
How Pope Francis Undermined the Goodwill of His Trip and Proved to Be a Coward – Michelangelo Signorile (HuffPost Gay Voices, September 30, 2015).
Kim Davis Recounts Secret Meeting With Pope FrancisABC News (September 30, 2015).
Pope Francis’ Meeting With Kim Davis Raises a Red Flag – Francis DeBernardo (Bondings 2.0, September 30, 2015).
What We Don't Know About Francis' Kim Davis Meeting – Joshua J. McElwee (National Catholic Reporter, October 1, 2015).
The Pope and Kim Davis: Seven Points to Keep in Mind – James Martin, SJ (America, September 30, 2015).
Why the Pope's Meeting with Kim Davis is the Last Straw for Me: With Commentary on Father James Martin's "Points to Keep in Mind" About the Meeting – William D. Lindsey (Bilgrimage, October 1, 2015).
Pope Francis' Kim Davis Visit is the Dumbest Thing He's Ever Done – Charles P. Pierce (Esquire, September 30, 2015).
Responses to Pope's Meeting with Kim Davis from My Facebook Feed – William D. Lindsey (Bilgrimage, September 30, 2015).
LGBT Catholics Confused and Hurt by Pope's Visit with Kim Davis – Antonia Blumberg (HuffPost Religion, September 30, 2015).
Pope Francis's Meeting with Kim Davis Should Come as No Surprise – Trevor Martin (The Guardian, September 15, 2015).
Pope Francis Doesn’t Believe in LGBT Equality – Barbie Latza Nadeau (The Daily Beast, September 30, 2015).
Pope's Secret Meeting Reframes Historic Visit – Reuters (September 30, 2015).
Pope Francis, the Kentucky Clerk and Culture Wars Revisited – Laurie Goodstein and Jim Yardley (The New York Times, September 30, 2015).
Let's Really Talk About Religious Freedom, Pope Francis – Charles P. Pierce (Esquire, September 29, 2015).
Pope Francis' Deep Ties to Evangelicals – Jamie Manson (National Catholic Reporter, July 8, 2015).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Pope Francis in the U.S.
Quote (and Reality Check) of the Day – September 1, 2015
Quote (and Question) of the Day – January 22, 2015


Mike said...

The Liberty Counsel, which is backing Kim Davis, has a history of lying, facilitating kidnapping, affirming the execution of sexual minorities, and suppressing religious minorities. Nothing that they say can be trusted. But the church officials who arranged the meeting knew that. If the Vatican doesn't discipline the officials, then it's on record for facilitating far-right activity.

Bill said...

The Vatican, unfortunately, also has a proven track record of lying.

Eric said...

It's astounding to me that anyone would consider Liberty Counsel, a "law firm" listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a reputable or credible source of information. Astounding.

McAuley Hentges said...

I find the Vatican version of events more credible than Davis' "attorney's." Both groups do engage in disinformation, but there is such a big disconnect between the tone of the papal visit and a purported endorsement of Davis that I find the whole thing dubious. Even if, for the sake of argument, the Davis' people's account of events is completely true, it is still a good thing that the Vatican is backpedaling so swiftly now. Vatican policy on LGBT people still stinks, that much is for certain, and I'd be surprised to see any change on this in October at the Synod on the Family.