Charles Pierce on the pope's meeting with Kim Davis as the dumbest thing he's ever done as pope — and on the disastrous consequences of this meeting for his credibility and what many folks thought he had accomplished on this papal visit:
This is, obviously, the dumbest thing this Pope ever has done. It undermines everything he accomplished on his visit here. It undermines his pastoral message, and it diminishes his stature by involving him in a petty American political dispute. A secret meeting with this nutball? That undermines any credibility he had accrued on the issue of openness and transparency. Moreover, it means that he barbered the truth during the press conference he held on his flight back to Rome, in which he spoke vaguely about religious liberty, and freedom of conscience, but claimed, "I can't have in mind all cases that can exist about conscience objection." He certainly knew the details of this case.
It should be emphasized that Charles Pierce has been a strong defender of Pope Francis.
Francis DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry says something similar about what the pope accomplished by this meeting:
The news that Pope Francis met privately in Washington, DC with Kim Davis throws a wet blanket on the good will that the pontiff had garnered during his U.S. visit last week.
As does Michelangelo Signorile, who also stresses that the pope has now totally undermined the goodwill of his trip: Signorile writes,
He shows himself to be antithetical to much of what he preaches and teaches. He talks about dialogue and having the courage of one's convictions and the courage to speak out. But he swept this Davis meeting under the rug, seemingly ashamed and certainly not wanting to broach the subject. Even Davis's supporters should find that insulting to them.
I've had it up to here with all the excuses for this kind of behavior on the part of Catholic pastoral leaders, with all the spin doctoring and image management. Just can't take it any more, as one of many people who are deeply — deeply — harmed by this kind of behavior.
Enough is enough.