Many news organizations are now reporting that the Papal meeting with embattled Rowan, Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis was set up by U.S. Vatican officials. The Pope met with Kim Davis and others, but had no prior knowledge of her situation when meeting with her.
Kim Davis's Pope meeting downplayed by Vatican
In a statement, the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Francis met with "several dozen" people at the Vatican's embassy in Washington just before leaving for New York.
Lombardi said such meetings are par for the course of any Vatican trip and are due to the pope's "kindness and availability." He said the pope only really had one "audience" in Washington: with former students and his family members.
"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," Lombardi said.
Kim Davis and her supporters had portrayed the meeting as one where the Pope sought her out to give her support for her cause.
“I put my hand out and he reached and he grabbed it, and I hugged him and he hugged me,” Davis said. “And he said, ‘thank you for your courage.’”
I have a theory on what happened:
There is a wide chasm in the US Catholic Church. You have officials in power similar in views to former St Paul Archbishop John Neinstedt, whose singular focus was to get gays out of the Catholic Church. By the way, Archishop Neinstedt resigned this summer after allegations surfaced he covered up sex abuse within his diocese.
Bring in Pope Francis on his US visit, who emphasizes help for the poor over crusading against gays, and you ruffle some feathers among US Catholic Officials. I think some official took it upon himself to try to throw cold water on the Pope's visit.