Pope Francis accused of ‘lying’ about meeting with Kim Davis

The former Vatican ambassador to the US, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, has again attacked Pope Francis, this time accusing him and Vatican officials of not telling the truth about the meeting with anti-gay marriage clerk Kim Davis.

The archbishop wrote a three-page statement on Thursday to the conservative religious website Lifesitenews recounting his version of the events surrounding Pope Francis’ visit to the US in 2015 and the meeting with Davis.

Viganò, who last week delivered a scathing 7,000-word letter accusing the Pope of ignoring allegations of sexual abuse concerning Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and calling for the pontiff’s resignation, left his role as Apostolic Nuncio in 2016, shortly after arranging the controversial meeting in September 2015.

The former Vatican official said what prompted him to write the statement was an article published in The New York Times on Tuesday which quoted Chilean abuse survivor Juan Carlos Cruz saying that the Pope told him: “I did not know who the woman was and he [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 article in the Times explained the significance of Viganò’s letter, which also accused the Pope of giving comfort to an “homosexual current” in the Vatican and exposed the divide between supporters of the pontiff’s inclusive vision for the Catholic Church and his detractors.

Cruz’s testimony was presented as a sign that Viganò, who himself was accused of obstructing a sexual misconduct investigation in Minnesota, was also “settling old scores.”

But according to the archbishop, the Pope was briefed about who Davis was at a meeting on September 23, 2015—contrary to claims by Vatican officials that Francis was unaware of the case and that the meeting was not meant to be seen as an endorsement of her actions.

“One of them is lying: either Cruz or the Pope? What is certain is that the Pope knew very well who Davis was, and he and his close collaborators had approved the private audience,” Viganò wrote, claiming that Francis was in favour of such an initiative, but was concerned about its political implications, so he sought counsel from his advisors.

GRAYSON, KY - SEPTEMBER 8: Rowan County Clerk of Courts Kim Davis waves to a crowd of her supporters at a rally in front of the Carter County Detention Center on September 8, 2015 in Grayson, Kentucky. Davis was ordered to jail last week for contempt of court after refusing a court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)

Rowan County Clerk of Courts Kim Davis waves to a crowd of her supporters at a rally in front of the Carter County Detention Center on September 8, 2015 in Grayson, Kentucky (Ty Wright/Getty Images)

Davis had become a controversial figure in the US after she was jailed for contempt of court after ignoring numerous orders to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, citing her religious beliefs.

In the statement to Lifesitenews, Viganò said that a photographer for the newspaper L’Osservatore Romano took pictures of the meeting, agreeing to not publish them, while Davis gave her word she wouldn’t talk to the press about her private audience with the Pope until he returned to Vatican City from the trip.

Davis kept her promise and eventually issued a statement to the media, claiming that the Pope “thanked” her for her “courage” and told her to “stay strong.”

Her lawyers also contested Vatican officials who sought to downplay the pontiff’s involvement. “The meeting with Kim Davis was initiated by the Vatican, and the private meeting occurred at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, DC, on Thursday, September 24,” they insisted.