Carlo is a naughty boy looking at speedy retirement.
Conservative Catholic Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano couldn’t help himself.
Openly and vehemently opposed to gay marriage, he’s the one who snuck renegade Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis into the Vatican Embassy in Washington for a brief encounter with Pope Francis during the Pontiff’s visit in our nation’s capitol without prior knowledge or approval of the Vatican or the Pope.
What was supposed to be a confidential moment didn’t stay that way.
Kim and her husband were picked up at the Omni Shoreham Hotel on Sept. 23, in a plain tan van by private security guards who spoke Italian. Ms. Davis had been instructed to change her hairstyle so the press wouldn’t identify her. The Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Vigano, had been entrusted to clear a few special folks to briefly meet Francis. It now appears he hadn’t bothered explaining to Francis or his aides specifically who Davis was and/or exactly why she was there.
It turns out that Vigano had been introduced to Davis’ attorney, Matthew D. Staver, as they both attended the third annual “March for Marriage” at the National Mall back in April, several months before the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage absolutely Constitutional.
Staver is also president of the “Liberty Council,” a conservative outfit that leapt into the limelight as soon as Davis gained screaming national headlines by denying gay couples any marriage licenses in her God-fearing county, U.S. Supreme Court be damned - or “darned” - I suppose - for a good, four times married, ex-adulteress Christian such as Kim.
Several days after Francis returned to Rome, bilaterally pledged discretion gave way to subjectively edited public disclosure when Mr. Staver informed the media of a “private meeting” the same time it was reported on the website of “Inside the Vatican,” a conservative publication not authorized or authored by the Vatican. As many an old sailor says, that’s when the ship hit the sand. Initial conservative spin suggested that, along with Father Junipero Serra, Kim Davis, herself, had been canonized.
Father Serra became Saint Junipero during the Pope’s visit, so honored for establishing 21 Spanish missions in California during the late 18th Century and bringing thousands of Native Americans to Christ - at least those the Conquistadors didn’t maim, rape, torture or kill. Serra’s elevation by the Church is not being universally acclaimed, nor was Kim’s once word got out.
Ms. Davis’ own testimony reveals unrestrained, ecstatic self-congratulation, categorically claiming that Pope Francis “agreed with” what she “was doing” and “that kind of validates everything.”
Archbishop Vigano turns 75 in January, the age when Bishops are required to submit an official letter of resignation to the Vatican. In most instances this is a mere formality. In Vigano’s case - an eventuality now hopefully hastened.
Prominent American Catholic theologians concur that the meeting with Ms. Davis was clearly a misstep. Dr. Massimo Faggioli of the University of Saint Thomas in Minnesota states, “on the whole trip to the United States, Pope Francis very carefully didn’t want to give the impression he was being politicized by either side.”
At first hoping the whole thing would dissipate like wispy altar smoke, the Vatican finally issued a declarative statement last Friday stressing - “The Pope did not enter into the details of the situation with 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.”
One Vatican official said there was “a sense of regret” that The Pope had ever seen Kim.
In other words, quoting the immortal prose of former Governor Rick Perry of Texas, “Oops.”
Infallibility may emanate from “The Chair of Peter” – but not the vagaries of Vigano.