In new attack, Viganò revisits Francis’ meeting with Kim Davis

In a new attack on Pope Francis and the Vatican, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò challenged the Vatican’s version of the lead-up to Pope Francis’ controversial meeting with Kim Davis at the nunciature in Washington, D.C., during the pontiff’s visit to the United States in September 2015. A Vatican source, echoing what several people in Rome are saying, told America: “The archbishop seems to have declared open war on Pope Francis and the Vatican.”

In a statement released to lifesitenews.com, the archbishop claims he had briefed the pope on the Davis case and that at the pope’s request he first got clearance from senior Vatican officials and then from the pope himself before the meeting took place. He claims that after rumors of the meeting created an uproar in the United States, the Vatican tried to cover up the true circumstances of the meeting.

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The archbishop’s latest broadside against Pope Francis was apparently provoked by comments made to The New York Times recently by Juan Carlos Cruz, a Chilean sexual abuse victim. Mr. Cruz said that during a meeting with Pope Francis in April the pope told him that he did not know who Kim Davis was and that Archbishop Viganò “snuck her in to say hello to me—and of course they made a whole publicity out of it. And I was horrified and I fired that nuncio.”

The former nuncio charges that “one of them is lying: either Cruz or the pope.”

A Vatican source said: “The archbishop seems to have declared open war on Pope Francis and the Vatican.”

A senior Vatican official declined to comment on this latest salvo from Archbishop Viganò and so far the Vatican has issued no official response.

In his statement to lifesitenews.com, he insists that the pope knew who Kim Davis was because he had offered a one-page brief on her circumstances to the pope and Vatican officials. Kim Davis, a Kentucky clerk and a charismatic Christian whose parents were Catholic, had been briefly jailed for refusing to sign for reasons of conscience the marriage licenses of homosexual couples who wanted to officially register their marriages in Kentucky.

According to Archbishop Viganò, at the end of dinner at the nunciature on Sept. 23, 2015, he asked to speak for half-an-hour with the pope because he wanted “to bring to his attention” for his “possible approval, a delicate and easily achievable initiative” that Francis meet “in a completely confidential way” with Ms. Davis. Despite his claimed assurance to the pope of complete confidentiality, Archbishop Viganò says later in his statement that he only secured a promise from Ms. Davis to refrain from speaking to the media until the pope had returned to Rome, but rumors of the meeting had begun circulating among the press even as Francis’ return flight began.

Archbishop Viganò also described Ms. Davis to the pope as “the first American citizen condemned and imprisoned for one week for having exercised her right to conscientious objection.” This description is questionable since others have also been imprisoned, for example during the Vietnam War, for conscientious objection. A source told America that the former nuncio created the problem and made a political blunder in the first place by proposing that the pope meet Ms. Davis.

According to the archbishop’s statement, he gave the pope a one-page memo summarizing the Davis case and reported that Francis “immediately appeared in favor of such an initiative, but added that the meeting would have political implications, and said, ‘I don’t understand these things, so it would be good for you to hear Cardinal Parolin’s opinion.’”

The former nuncio charges that “one of them is lying: either Cruz or the pope.”

Since it was already late in the evening, Archbishop Viganò said he went to the hotel where the pope’s entourage were staying, having alerted senior Vatican officials in advance that he wanted to speak to Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin. He said that when he got there he spoke with Archbishop Angelo Becciu, the substitute of the Secretariat of State (or chief of staff), and Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States, because Cardinal Parolin “had already retired to his room and they did not consider it appropriate to disturb him, since they could easily make him aware of our meeting the following morning.”

He said he gave them the same memo he had given the pope. He reported that Archbishop Becciu “was immediately in favor of the pope receiving Davis privately,” but Archbishop Gallagher, “while showing support for the idea given the importance of defending the right to conscientious objection, said that it was appropriate to verify from the point of view of common law whether there were any reasons that would render the meeting inadvisable; namely, whether the legal proceedings brought against Davis were concluded or were still open.”

He said he put Archbishop Gallagher in contact with nunciature’s canon lawyer “to clarify matters” and when he was told that “there were no procedural obstacles,” the Vatican archbishop “gave an unconditionally favorable opinion that the pope should receive Davis.”

The former nuncio said he informed Francis “of the positive opinion of his two principal collaborators, who had then told Cardinal Parolin about our meeting” and “the pope then gave his consent.” Archbishop Viganò then arranged to have Ms. Davis come to the nunciature without anyone noticing.

“To my great surprise, during this long meeting, the pope did not mention even once the audience with Davis!”

Before the meeting, he said, “I alerted the photographer from L’Osservatore Romano that he should not release the photographs of the meeting without the permission of his superiors” and to-date they “have never been published.” He said he also asked Ms. Davis to “promise me in advance that she would not give any news to the media until after the pope’s return to Rome,” and “she faithfully kept her promise.” He had guaranteed the pope “a completely confidential meeting” and did not say that he informed the pope that Ms. Davis would be free to speak to the press after his return to Rome.

He recalled that “early in the afternoon of September 24, before leaving for New York City, the pope entered as planned into the sitting room where Ms. Davis and her husband were waiting for him. He embraced her affectionately, thanked her for her courage, and invited her to persevere.” He reported that “Davis was very moved and started crying” and was then taken back to her hotel “in a car driven by a pontifical gendarme.”

He recalled that “once the pope returned to Rome” the news of his meeting with Davis broke out in the media.

But the rumor that the meeting between the pope and Kim Davis had taken place was already circulating among the media before Francis left the United States. Reporters were discussing the possibility of asking the pope about it during the press conference on the papal plane, but decided against it at the time because the rumors had not been fully confirmed.

Archbishop Viganò complains that the Vatican Press Office then issued a statement, without consulting him, “stating that the pope had never received Davis in a private audience and that at most he may have greeted her among many other people before departing for New York.” He charges that Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Press Office, and his sometime assistant for English language media, Father Thomas Rosica, C.S.B., “added to the lies.”

He recalled that the next morning “I received a frantic telephone call from Cardinal Parolin, who told me, ‘You must come immediately to Rome because the pope is furious with you!’”

According to Archbishop Viganò, he was received by Francis on Oct. 9, and in their hour long conversation he said the pope “was very affectionate and paternal. He immediately apologized to me for troubling me with coming to Rome, and he lavished continuous praise on me for the way I had organized his visit to the USA, and for the incredible reception he received in America. He never expected such a welcome.”

Archbishop Viganò said, “To my great surprise, during this long meeting, the pope did not mention even once the audience with Davis!”

After his audience with the pope, Archbishop Viganò said he phoned Cardinal Parolin, and told him, “The pope was so good with me. Not a word of reproach, only praise for the success of his visit to the USA.”

According to the archbishop, Cardinal Parolin replied, “It’s not possible because with me he was furious about you.”

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ron chandonia
1 year 3 months ago

This is hardly an "attack," much less a new one. The Kim Davis encounter has been cited repeatedly in both Catholic news and the secular press as evidence of Archbishop Vigano's allegedly duplicitous agenda. Here he clarifies what actually happened, and (unsurprisingly) the toadies again attack him.

J Rabaza
1 year 3 months ago

“The former nuncio charges that “one of them is lying: either Cruz or the pope.”

This is a PR disaster of epic proportions for Vigano. It is hard to say who has less credibility: Vigano or Lifesitenewz. Either way they are losing their audience, though Trads cant get enough blood of Pope Francis to satiate their unquenchable blood thirst.

Someone should run a contest to see what historical event of the Catholic Church mirrors the Vigano debacle. The Papacy Schism of 1378 would not be accurate though Charles Chaput and Raymond Burke channeling Savonarola would be appropriate. Any thoughts?

Daniel Montiel
1 year 3 months ago

I thought the same when I saw lifesitenewz being cited! Anything *more* far right/right-wing/extremely conservative can hardly be found on the Internet. That's about as reactionary right as it gets!

Vince Killoran
1 year 3 months ago

Evidence, documents--anything to support Vigano? Nothing yet.

Dennis Hayes
1 year 3 months ago

Vigano is a wolf.

J Rabaza
1 year 3 months ago

That comment is uncharitable towards wolves.

Tim O'Leary
1 year 3 months ago

Need to see the memo that Archbishop Vigano says was given to the Pope and the other bishops before the meeting. In any case, this Kim Davis event should have been harmless, if not for the subsequent media storm. I have not yet made my mind up on the Vigano claims, but, I would note that Kim Davis was fired and has been reviled in the media since. That is typically what happens to people who have a religious objection to the gay agenda. Proponents of the gay agenda are not fired, they are idolized (e.g. Fr. Martin) by the media. That is why I think Fr. Martin's claim of proponents of homosexuality being victimized is hollow. They are lionized, while advocates of religious freedom from the gay agenda are prosecuted and persecuted. I ask him - which hunt is the real witch hunt?

Daniel Montiel
1 year 3 months ago

Sorry, Tim, but "exercising one's constitutional rights, even if some members of some religions don't like it" is not "the gay agenda'. Every citizen has the same constitutional rights, including the right to marry, and no person gets to stand in the way of that right. Kim Davis has no authority to say, "Since my religion doesn't like your constitutional rights, I get to block them." If Davis couldn't do her job - for religious or any other reason - she should quit and stop letting her personal opinions block other peoples' rights as Americans.

J Jones
1 year 3 months ago

The fact that Ms. Davis has been divorced 3 times and married 4 times is one of the give-aways that biblical teachings, principles and values were NOT the driving motivators for her

Tim, I think your comments are often riddled with bigotry and misinformation but I do believe you are motivated by your commitment to Catholicism, presuming of course you don't have three divorces under your belt as you rage against "the gay agenda".

Tim O'Leary
1 year 3 months ago

J - You and Fr. Martin and most of the gay-is-ok advocates consider any disagreement on the moral or health or spiritual effects of homosex to be ipso facto hateful, bigoted and misinformed. But, that is just a political newspeak tactic intended to hide the truth. Yes, I do believe the teachings of Scripture and the Church and they are my main motivator, since rejection of the Catholic truth is terribly damaging to minds, bodies and souls. I am persuadable by hard scientific evidence, especially medical (my expertise) & statistical, that is free of political bias (so, not the APA or pseudoscientific claims without data) and doesn't stray where it has no expertise (the moral realm). I concur with Dr. McHugh, former head of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins that the gay & gender identify advocates have completely lost their scientific moorings. But, isn't that what Scripture predicted (cf 1 Romans).

As to your last comment, I am married and have not been divorced. I read from your comments that you once considered a spiritual vocation but are now a guy who lives with 2 lesbians. So, I understand your brittleness and vulnerability. But, I have hope that sooner or later, you will rediscover the truth, for the good of your mind, body and soul.

J Jones
1 year 3 months ago

Tim, you have some basic facts wrong but I did end my discernment of religious life because I was unwilling to publicly pretend to endorse the teaching of the RCC on homosexuality and, thus, lend another voice to people who are obsessed with making an "Other" out of gay people.

Jesus gravitated to the outsider, Tim. No brittleness or vulnerability there. It is called accompaniment.

I don't consider medical literature re: physical health risks of certain acts bigoted, hateful and misinformed.

And, truly, in the real world (not the one where American evangelical and fundamentalist Catholics and Christians imagine themselves persecuted in the US), Kim Davis can't have it both ways. No clerk would have gotten away with denying her 3 civil divorces or her last 3 civil marriages, no matter how many times the clerk's lawyer said that doing so would violate the clerk's religious beliefs (which means that grating Kim's 3 divorces and last 3 cmarriages would also, wait for it, violate KIM's biblical beliefs. But ol' Kim thinks she gets to trot out hertrusty Bible to block someone else's civil marriage. It is a delicious , truly delicious absurdity --- so absurd it makes me giggle; so absurd it makes me wish I were a cartoonist --- that a woman who has been divorced 3 times and married 4 times and claimed that her Christian beliefs are so sincerely and deeply held and sacred that she cannot do her job if it means helping someone else disobey the Bible....you know, like she did, over and over again. This was bigotry, pure and simple, with a huge dose of arrogance that she could get away it and get some attention at the same time. Still giggling here... You really want to go to the mat over this nonsense, Tim?

I believe your Catholicism is sincere, Tim (I often wonder if you are a convert), and I sincerely believe you are misguided in your tactics.

Daniel Montiel
1 year 3 months ago

It's funny, in the face of Archbishop Viganò’s commission of unforced error after unforced error as he chases his homo- and trans-phobia, that this letter appears expressing agreement with Dr. McHugh. Forty-odd years after McHugh's bias shut down a transgender program at Johns Hopkins, he still is a oft-cited anti-trans leading light - a position he clings to even tho his actual hospital got tired of waiting for him learn and formally opened a transgender health service and resumed the trans* surgical program. Anyway, this letter sides with McHugh's contention that gay and trans advocates have "lost their scientific moorings" - they say this when their recent anti-gay and anti-trans screed published in the New Atlantis conservative Christian magazine received a label of "pure balderdash" from a NIH researcher, one of the first scientists to identify a genetic link to homosexuality, actually. 😆
Tim, I hope you're able to leave behind the anti-science and homophobic personal preferences of McHugh's like and join your fellow scientists back in reality. I'm not optimistic, but I am full of hope for you. 💚

Vincent Couling
1 year 3 months ago

Carlo "Kim Davis" Vigano's behaviour is despicable. I don't believe a word that emanates from his mouth. He engineered the Kim Davis meeting, probably with the aid of the Dubia-type cabal, almost certainly witholding the full details (and the possible repercussions) from Francis at the time, lying to the Pope that the meeting would have "full confidentiality" while knowing full well that his agreement with Davis was that she could run to the press once the Pope's plane jetted off US soil! The whole meeting was set up to advance a Culture Warrior anti-gay agenda, political to the core. The Pope seems to have narrowly escaped being sabotaged at the press conference on the flight home ... Vigano made sure he got it right this time during the Pope's flight home from Ireland. He is a snake in the grass, he is blatantly indulging in a vicious and unscrupulous political campaign to discredit Francis and perhaps even bring his pontificate down. He clearly has the full backing of the ultra-conservative media, and this seems to have been planned down to minute details ... he is continuing with a slow bleed of pernicious attacks on Pope Francis ... he is shameless ... I suspect that there is a group of ultraconservative prelates who have planned this entire campaign. I hope and pray that Francis deals their agenda a mortal blow ... that such a tiny cabal of malcontents can have such inordinate influence is outrageous. I suspect that they care little about sex-abuse crimes (else they would have attacked JPII or BXVI long ago) ... they simply detest Francis' Christ-like openness to the marginalized ... gays, divorced-and-remarrieds, refugees, the poor, those sitting on death row ... and they want him gone so that they can replace him with an ultra-conservative ... they forget that the Holy Spirit is at work, and their carefully-crafted plans will come to naught!

J Rabaza
1 year 3 months ago

According to a high ranking C9 Cardinal, the author of Vigano’s letter has sinned against the Holy Spirit and in order to be forgiven he must repair the damage caused. This is truly loaded language that no ordinary Bishop, Archbishop, or Raymond Burke can outrank. Quite the whopper!

“In an interview with Spanish portal Periodista Digital, Maradiaga said that he was being attacked because, as coordinator of the C9, he was working on reforming the Curia. “The enemies of this reform want to end this council,” the cardinal said. “The main objective is Pope Francis.” On Viganò’s letter, he said that he was “surprised by it,” and said that for the author to be forgiven for incurring in the sin of slander he had to “repair the damage done.” “To ask for the resignation of the pope, in my opinion, is a sin against the Holy Spirit, who ultimately is the guide of the Church,” Maradiaga said.”
https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2018/09/01/whos-who-in-drama-of-cover-up-accusation-against-pope-francis/

Douglas Fang
1 year 3 months ago

"...whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin..." Mark 3:29
Let's pray for the salvation of Vigano's soul...

Tim O'Leary
1 year 3 months ago

Right - so, Vigano would know he was lost if he was not honest. That is an argument in his favor. I think he could be in earnest and still wrong. But, we need an investigation. Many suspicious events re the McCarrick affair.

Douglas Fang
1 year 3 months ago

Vigano already sold his soul to his ambitious clericalism when he wrote such a damning non-sense letter to accuse Pope Francis, a letter that is getting more and more questionably ridiculous. It is someone like you who still trying to defend him. Please have a sense of honesty in your argument.

J Rabaza
1 year 3 months ago

Agreed, Douglas. As journalists delve deeper into the historical record, the counsel of Pope Francis to them is bearing fruit: Vigano schmoozed Uncle Teddy until he realized he would not get a red hat.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned....or a bitter prelate. Charles Chaput is next.

Tim O'Leary
1 year 3 months ago

Doug & Guill - you are taking upon yourself the judgment of Archbishop Vigano's soul. Holy Scripture has severe warnings about that.

J Jones
1 year 3 months ago

Tim, your comments are relentlessly sanctimonious. How about chastising yourself publicly here, just for balance?

Daniel Montiel
1 year 3 months ago

Tim, it's funny - in a sad way - that you stopped using your religion as a bludgeon against queer people only long enough to use it against other scientists.
Any port in a storm, hmm?

Carlos Orozco
1 year 3 months ago

I think a Pope should have the spine to defend marriage as defined by God in Genesis and further strengthened by His Son in the New Testament. Not too much to ask, is it?

John Hobson
1 year 3 months ago

Which has, of course, absolutely nothing to do with that article.

Carlos Orozco
1 year 3 months ago

The Pope panicked when news broke on his meeting with Kim Davis. Archbishop Vignano was thrown under the bus, God forbid Pope Francis would be seen as an enemy of homosexual "marriage".

Daniel Montiel
1 year 3 months ago

You can disapprove of gay weddings all you want, you can scare quotes the word marriage for 100 years, but you don't get to take away the rights that ALL Americans have.

John Hobson
1 year 3 months ago

Given that Vigano was almost certainly lying about Benedict putting sanctions on McCarrick, my money is on him lying about this as well.

Vincent Gaglione
1 year 3 months ago

Vigano is an embarrassment to the Church. He defames the Pope, besmirches the Church, and denigrates his personal title of Archbishop. He scandalizes the faithful.

James M.
1 year 3 months ago

I don’t see anything here that can’t be accounted for by talking at cross-purposes combined with defective memories. People make mistakes, especially when relating what they think other people know, or must necessarily know.

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