A former Vatican official known for his
opposition to marriage equality has claimed in a letter that Pope
Francis knew who Kentucky clerk Kim Davis was.
Davis fought to keep her office from
issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.
Francis met Davis in September 2015
during a visit to the United States. Amid a firestorm of protest,
the Vatican asserted that the pope was surprised by the meeting.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, who said
he would go into hiding after he accused
Pope Francis of covering up a cardinal's sexual misconduct,
arranged the private meeting in his former capacity as the Vatican's
ambassador to the United States.
On Friday, the conservative
website LifeSiteNews published a letter in which Vigano
contradicts the pope's version of events.
Vigano said that he was responding to
comments made by a Chilean abuse survivor.
Juan Carlos Cruz said that Pope Francis
told him that Vigano sneaked Davis into the Vatican Embassy in
Washington for the meeting and that he did not know why she was
controversial. “I was horrified and I fired that nuncio,” Cruz
recalled the pope saying.
“One of them is lying: either Cruz or
the pope?” Vigano wrote. “What is certain is that the pope knew
very well who Davis was, and he and his close collaborators had
approved the private audience.”
Vigano asserted that he personally
briefed the pope on Davis' case in a memo and that the pope
“immediately appeared in favor” of a meeting but asked Vigano to
clear the meeting with his top adviser.
Vigano wrote that Pope Francis
“affectionately embraced” Davis during the meeting and “thanked
her for her courage and invited her to persevere.”