The Vatican Contradicts Liberty Counsel's Claims About Kim Davis' Meeting With Pope Francis

UPDATE: It turns out the only private meeting held at the venue was with one of Francis’ former students, who is gay, and his partner.

The Religious Right legal group Liberty Counsel boasted in a statement and at least two fundraising emails this week that their client, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, had a private meeting with Pope Francis during his recent visit to Washington and that the pope thanked Davis for her courage in denying marriage licenses to gay couples.

“Just knowing that the pope is on track with what we're doing and agreeing, you know, it kind of validates everything,” Davis said in an interview following the meeting.

While the pope did speak vaguely about the rights of conscientious objectors (a term that does not describe Davis), the Holy See — unlike Liberty Counsel — remained mum about the meeting.

But it seems that Davis’ lawyers attempt to paint Pope Francis as a Davis supporter has forced the Vatican to issue a statement claiming that the encounter between the pope and Davis has been greatly exaggerated, as she was one of dozens of people who met the pope only briefly at a stop in Washington, D.C.

Liberty Counsel has already had to retract claims that 100,000 Peruvians held a prayer rally for Davis and that the hosts of “The View” had threatened to kill the clerk.

Gerard O’Connell of the Catholic publication America writes that “a short but clear statement from the Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., ... effectively deflates and denies the widespread misinterpretation in much of the media about that encounter.”

At that same time, he said, Pope Francis also “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.”

He explained that “such brief greetings occur on all papal visits and are due to the pope’s characteristic kindness and availability.” But, he added, “the only real audience granted by the pope at the nunciature was with one of his former students and his family.”

Then, in the key passage of the statement, Lombardi clarified that “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.”

Father Thomas Rosica, who frequently assists Lombardi on matters relating to the Anglophone world, told reporters that there were “several dozens of people” in the Nunciature (the Holy See’s Embassy) for before the pope departed for New York. He said the pope would “have known little” about Mrs. Davis, apart from her name, and found it hard to give credence to Davis’s account that she had spent 15 minutes alone with the pope. There simply was not time, he said; the time was very limited and the people were scattered in small groups in different locations on the one floor of the building, and each had a very brief greeting with him, nothing more. Moreover, Rosica said, each of those present had been cleared by the U.S. Secret Service before entering the nunciature.

CBS News reports that a “ highly placed source inside the Vatican claims the Pope was blindsided” by the Davis meeting, adding that “[n]ot even Lombardi knew about it ahead of time, nor did the leadership of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which would have opposed it.”

“A close advisor to Pope Francis tweeted that the Pope was, in his words, ‘exploited’ by those who set up what the CBS 2 source says was a ‘meeting that never should have taken place,’” the report continued.

Reuters also spoke to a Vatican official who expressed a “sense of regret” about the meeting.

However, Davis’ lawyer and Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver is holding firm in his claim that the two had a much more meaningful encounter:

However, Davis' lawyer, Mat Staver, told The Associated Press that the Vatican initiated the meeting as an affirmation of her right to be conscientious objector.

"We wouldn't expect the pope to weigh in on the particulars of any case," Staver said Friday.

He said Vatican personnel initiated the meeting on Sept. 14, the day she returned to work, saying the pope wanted to meet her. He said Vatican security picked up her and her husband from their hotel and told her to change her hairdo so she wouldn't be recognized since the Vatican wanted the meeting kept secret.

Staver disputed a Vatican spokesman's claims that the pope only met Davis in a receiving line. He said the couple was in a separate room with Francis and Vatican personnel.

News of the meeting sent shockwaves through the U.S. church, with Davis' supporters saying it showed the pope backed her cause and opponents questioning whether the pope had been duped into meeting with her.

Initially the Vatican only reluctantly confirmed the meeting but offered no comment.

On Friday, Lombardi met with Francis and issued a fuller statement to "contribute to an objective understanding of what transpired." Francis has made clear he dislikes being used for political ends, and Lombardi's statement appeared intended to make clear that the encounter should in no way be exploited.

An assistant to Lombardi, the Rev. Thomas Rosica, said he believed the pope would have been given a list of names of the several dozen people who were invited to the embassy to bid farewell as he left Washington, but was unaware of the details of her case or any possible implications of the meeting.

"I don't think he knew the details, the full biographies of each person, except for the names of the people there," Rosica said.

GOP Obstruction of the DC Circuit: Infographics

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Right Wing Round-Up - 10/2/15

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 10/2/15

  • Ben Carson is calling upon the IRS to "punish" the Council on American-Islamic Relations for supposedly violating its tax-exempt status by criticizing him. If a Democratic candidate did something like this to a Religious Right group, we'd never hear the end of them screaming about "anti-Christian persecution."
  • Sign up now for Peter LaBarbera's annual banquet so you can hear speakers make "The Case Against Sodomy."
  • Franklin Graham stands by his call to ban Muslim immigrants: "By letting Muslims come into this country at this time [there's] the potential for some of these people to turn on this nation for our kindness and our gratitude and commit murder. And it’s not just the murder of just one or two, but it could be a large event that could take the lives of many people."
  • Operation Rescue's Troy Newman has lost his legal fight and will be deported from Australia.
  • Finally, NOM displays some rather poor timing by trying to raise money off of Pope Francis' supposed support for Kim Davis on the very same day that the Vatican completely undermined those claims.

Frank Pavone: Support For Planned Parenthood Would Be Lower If Pollsters Just Lied

Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, who has described himself as “close to” the Center for Medical Progress’ smear of Planned Parenthood, argued this week that public support for Planned Parenthood has been inflated because pollsters aren’t lying to poll respondents about the nature of the organization’s federal funding.

In an interview on Ave Maria Radio on Wednesday, Pavone reacted to a Pew poll finding that 60 percent of Americans support federal funding to the women’s health provider by saying that surveys should instead ask, “Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion business in the country, do you believe your taxpayer money should fund those abortions?”

The reason pollsters don’t ask the question that way may be because, under federal law, no federal funding goes to the organization’s abortion services except in very limited cases.

Pavone also insisted that “much of the American public does not even realize that Planned Parenthood does abortions” because “they cleverly hide it in the very title of the organization. ‘Planned Parenthood’ sounds something like you’re in favor of parenthood, not that you’re in favor of snuffing it out.”

Pavone also reasoned that Planned Parenthood must not be interested in providing health care to low-income people because if it, was it wouldn’t attract campaigns to defund it, or something:

If you, Planned Parenthood, really believe that, if you believe that you are so necessary to provide so many good things to people that otherwise wouldn’t have them, then why do you act so irresponsibly doing this immoral things that most of the public rejects, doing potentially illegal things that you’re now being investigated for? If you really consider yourself to be such an important part of society’s service to people, clean up your act! If you think that if you close your doors, all these people are going to be out of services, then shouldn’t you be more careful that the government doesn’t have to come in and close your doors? Stop the immoral and illegal activity!

Fischer: The Bullies In 'The Gay Gestapo' Have Intimidated The Pope

Bryan Fischer is not at all happy about reports that the Vatican is contradicting the claims from Kentucky clerk Kim Davis and her attorneys at Liberty Counsel that Davis was invited to meet privately with Pope Francis when both were in Washington, D.C. last week, during which the pope allegedly praised her for standing strong in her fight to prevent her county office from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.

On his radio show today, Fischer insisted that the version of events put forth by Liberty Counsel can be trusted because "Mat Staver is a man of absolute, unquestioned integrity, so when Mat Staver speaks, he is going to tell you the truth."

Um, not exactly.

The fact that the Vatican is now backing away from Davis, Fischer said, is a testament to the strength of the bullies in "the Gay Gestapo."

"What this story illustrates is the power of the Gay Gestapo," he said. "What this story illustrates is the power and the influence of pro-sodomy lobby in international affairs. Big Gay and homosexual lobby, homosexual activists, have so much power that they can intimidate the pope himself ... The bigots and bullies of Big Gay have intimidated the pope."

'The National Association For The Abortion Of Colored People': Values Voter Summit And The Right's Reaction To The NAACP

Ryan Bomberger, founder of the anti-choice group Radiance Foundation, attended Values Voter Summit last week to talk about his vehement opposition to the NAACP because of its support for reproductive rights. Bomberger is not new to Values Voter Summit or to inflammatory language regarding the NAACP; he spoke about the same issue at the Values Voter Summit in 2013. 

At this year’s summit, Bomberger participated in a panel moderated by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins with anti- abortion activist Lila Rose and South Carolina teen Roy Costner, who became a right-wing hero after reading the Lord’s Prayer at his valedictorian speech. Perkins introduced Bomberger, who is featured in Perkins’ new book “No Fear,” by giving a brief summary of his “extraordinary work” inspired by God: “Ryan and his wife, they took on the NAACP,” who were “targeting African-American babies and promoting abortion in [black] communities.”

Bomberger recalled a dispute he had with the NAACP after he condemned “their radical pro-abortion actions,” going so far as to call them the “National Association for the Abortion of Colored People” in an article. The audience broke into whistles and applause when Bomberger detailed how he didn’t let the NAACP “silence” him when they sued him for trademark infringement for his article, which Bomberger characterizes as the NAACP not “recognize[ing] free speech as a civil right.”

Attacks on the NAACP from the right are nothing new. Alveda King has made similar accusations of the NAACP targeting black communities for abortion, calling the instances of abortions of black babies “genocide.” The NAACP has faced continuous attacks for its support of gay rights: Matt Barber called their resolution to support marriage equality “offensive,” and the Coalition of African American Pastors, a group linked to the National Organization for Marriage, asserted that Martin Luther King Jr. would have wanted them to denounce gay rights, a claim not exclusive to that group. Conservative talk show host Dennis Prager has accused the NAACP of “incit[ing] hatred of America generally and white America specifically.” A column in WorldNetDaily referred to the NAACP as one of Obama’s “SS stormtroopers.” Other right-wing activists have called the group “treasonous” and a “joke.”

'He Is A Very Small, Sad Man': Glenn Beck Did Not Appreciate President Obama's Comments On Oregon Shooting

Glenn Beck's response on his radio program this morning to yesterday's mass shooting at a community college in Oregon was rather schizophrenic.

After spending the first hour of the show reading a prayer to God and telling his audience not to focus on the anger and hatred that seemingly motivated the attack, but rather to hold up those who reacted heroically, Beck then spent an entire segment discussing his acquisition of a golden ticket from the movie "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," during which he grew increasingly emotional and teary-eyed as he recounted the plot of the film, especially the climatic line, "so shines a good deed in a weary world."

After urging his listening audience to focus on those who did just this sort of a "good deed" in the wake of the shooting instead of focusing on the negative, Beck then returned from a commercial break and spent the next segment furiously attacking President Obama as a small, sad, and pathetic man for daring to politicize this nation's seemingly endless wave of mass killings.

"I just have to tell you this, and I believe I speak by commandment," Beck said, without a hint of irony. "Stop listening to the liars."

He then played a clip of Obama speaking yesterday about the shooting, saying that these mass killings are "something we should politicize," and then proceeded to spend ten minutes ripping the president to shreds.

"This is the history of this man," he declared. "It's obscene! And it's time we start saying those words. 'Mr. President, that is obscene. We deserve better than this. We demand better than this.' ... This man just came out and said this needs to be politicized! I refuse to be divided by him anymore. He is a very small, sad man."

"He is not worth your time," Beck continued. "It is really, truly sad to see how little our president had made himself and how little he has made the presidency of the United States. It is truly sad and pathetic."

Paranoia-Rama: Another Bachmann Prophecy, NASA's Leftist Martian Plot And The UN-Caliphate

While we are disappointed that the many prophecies about a financial crash or a natural disaster hitting the U.S. in September were pretty much a bust, right-wing commentators have new predictions about America’s future, this time involving Mars, Pope Francis and the United Nations.
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