And the plot thickens.
One gets the sense that everyone was quite comfortable with the categories we had been using prior to today’s shocking announcement that the People’s Pope had met with, well, one of the people. Yes, the Pope and Kim Davis had a secret meeting. Who could have seen that one coming?
Pope Francis’ visit had been digested, packaged, and labeled as a diplomatic success story because, to the delight of the American elite, he had championed their favorite causes (generally), and had only made general references to the topics and issues that they would like to move on from. That makes the Pope a good guy for them, and a likable one. Not his fault that he is stuck with the Catholic tradition and old teachings on marriage, abortion, sin, conscientious objection and the like. He’s working within the constraints, and is busy opening new doors to all of the people who have made the enlightened choice to think for themselves. He’s a uniter, and he is not trying to fan any culture war flames.
Kim Davis, on the other hand, stands for all of the backwards and judgmental thinking that Pope Francis is trying to move the Church beyond, so the accepted narrative goes. Francis’ message is nuanced and enlightened. Davis’ is fundamentalistic, stubborn, and resistive. Francis’ is open. Davis’ is closed. Francis is a uniter. Davis is a divider. We all thought she’d been sufficiently dealt with as the deputies began issuing marriage licenses again, and the inevitable pathway of inclusion had once again been cleared. While fascinating, she was again safely irrelevant.
Well… not anymore. For those the elites have labeled “the conservatives,” this meeting is a bit of thrown bone. But only a little one. Maybe he’s not so bad after all? Maybe he’s not going to turn the Catholic Church into a Mainline Protestant organization? Maybe there is still hope.
For the left, this is the proverbial scratching of the needle as the symphony of praise stops. Really? Her? The enemy? The thing of it is, is that if they complain too loudly, then they have to admit they were wrong about him, and that would never do.
So, they will politely cough and move on. And it will be said that what the Pope was actually doing was defending the rights of conscience in general (you, know, like when we marched from Selma), and therefore it was an understandable move. But make no mistake the seed of doubt has been planted in the minds of the left.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis remains really what he has always been: un-categorizeable. That is both his beauty and his difficulty. Perhaps what everyone around him, and around the world, needs to do is just simply make peace with not being at peace. And in so doing to continue to make room for the Holy Spirit to work.