October 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- While many supporters of marriage and religious freedom were delighted to learn that Pope Francis met with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis during his U.S. visit, liberals and homosexual advocates are not happy about it, with some very critical of the Holy Father.
The pope’s meeting with Davis has gotten him labeled a “coward,” and it’s also been called a “profound error” by one media outlet and “a disaster” by another, with a third stating, “Somebody messed up.”
It was revealed Tuesday that the pope had met with Davis at the Vatican Embassy in Washington D.C. last week just before leaving for New York, telling her to “stay strong,” and with Davis and the pontiff assuring each other of their mutual prayers.
Some accused Davis, the besieged county clerk who has objected to issuing homosexual “marriage” licenses because of her religious beliefs, of fabricating the encounter. This was bolstered by the Vatican initially neither confirming nor denying it, but yesterday the Vatican later confirmed the meeting.
At Breitbart, Austin Ruse cited unnamed sources saying that the meeting between Davis and the pope came at the invitation of a high-ranking official in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State acting on behalf of the pope himself.
On the plane back to Rome from the United States, Pope Francis was asked about conscientious objection with specific regard to government officials faced with executing a duty in conflict with their religious beliefs, the question an apparent reference to Davis, to which he replied that conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right.
His response made headlines, but it was the follow up news that he’d met with Davis while in the U.S. that sparked reaction on both sides of the religious liberty and homosexual “marriage” issues.
Many marriage and religious freedom supporters were very puzzled or disturbed by the choice to meet with Davis in private surrounded by such secrecy, and many of their liberal counterparts were incensed that the pope met with Davis at all.
Davis, who was jailed over her stance and singled out for prosecution, has become a symbol in the religious liberty battle.
“When I saw this news, my heart sank,” opined Slate’s Vanessa Vitiello Urquhart of the pope’s meeting with Davis. “In one 15-minute meeting, the pope undermined the unifying, healing message that many queer people and our supporters were so eager to have him bring.”
Urquhart also referred to Davis as “the living embodiment of the sort of minor, distracting, noxious culture-war figure who continually saps America’s ability to focus on anything but the distractions of culture warriors.”
“However assiduously he avoided pressing America’s hot buttons over the rest of the visit,” she wrote, “he’s pressed one now, and there’s nothing that can be done about it.”
“That simple encounter completely undermines all the goodwill the pope created in downplaying ‘the gay issue’ on his U.S. trip,” Huffington Post’s Michelangelo Signorile wrote. “The pope played us for fools, trying to have it both ways.”
“He's an artful politician,” he continued, “telling different audiences what they want to hear on homosexuality.”
“But this news about Kim Davis portrays him as a more sinister kind of politician,” wrote Signorile. “That's the kind that secretly supports hate, ushering the bigots in the back door -- knowing they're an embarrassment -- while speaking publicly about how none of us can judge one another.”
Signorile said by meeting with Davis secretly, and then initially having the Vatican neither confirm nor deny the meeting, and later having the Vatican say it "won't deny" it but refuse to offer any other details, “The pope comes off as a coward.”
“He shows himself to be antithetical to much of what he preaches and teaches,” he wrote.
The National Catholic Reporter’s Michael Sean Winters wrote that many people were trying “to glom on to the pope and his message any which way they could and manipulate him and his message for their own ends,” and that the Pontiff is now being made into a hot potato in the culture wars he wishes to avoid.
“This was a thoroughly foreseeable consequence of the meeting with Ms. Davis which is why the pope was ill served by whoever arranged this meeting,” he wrote.
Winters indicated that the meeting had to have had the papal nuncio’s okay, stating, “Perhaps he did not understand how Davis’ case was not really an instance of conscientious objection,” and that if the meeting was all the nuncio’s doing then he should quit.
The meeting casts a long and confusing shadow over the pope, wrote Andy Kopsa at The Guardian.
“For a man who has made it a point to be humble in his faith and to take politicians in the United States to task, meeting Davis was a profound error,” Kopsa wrote.
“Davis is now a symbol of right-wing Christian morality and so-called traditional and wholesome family values. Her notoriety epitomizes what non-inclusivity looks like,” he continued. “What are we to think about the humble, who-am-I-to-judge pope stamping with approval the values of Kim Davis?”