That was the Bear's reaction when reader Sandpiper directed him to a story that Pope Francis had secretly visited Kim Davis. The Bear responded rather obnoxiously, so he must apologize. (The comments section have been slightly frustrating for the Bear, but that's another story.)
The story is here, at Inside the Vatican, and is being widely reported by NPR and other outlets.
To be fair to the Bear, he did say it was bad satire. And so it was. Because it was the truth.
"The Pope spoke in English,” she told me. “There was no interpreter. ‘Thank you for your courage,’ Pope Francis said to me. I said, ‘Thank you, Holy Father.’ I had asked a monsignor earlier what was the proper way to greet the Pope, and whether it would be appropriate for me to embrace him, and I had been told it would be okay to hug him. So I hugged him, and he hugged me back. It was an extraordinary moment. ‘Stay strong,’ he said to me. Then he gave me a rosary as a gift, and he gave one also to my husband, Joe. I broke into tears. I was deeply moved.Davis was in Washington, D.C. to receive an award. Pope Francis met with her after his address to a joint meeting of Congress, and before flying to New York City.
This is where some people accuse Pope Francis of a subtle game of misdirection, and others go into transports of joy that he's one of us after all. And a poor old Bear has to pretend to make sense of it.
Kim Davis was a Kentucky county clerk who went to jail rather than violate her Pentecostal religious beliefs by issuing marriage licenses to homosexuals.
The Pope also visited 100 prisoners in Philadelphia, speaking to each one. The question is, did Pope Francis visit Davis as a (currently freed) well-known prisoner of conscience, or specifically as someone who went to jail rather than issue homosexual marriage licenses?
The Bear thought this was interesting in the Pope's speech to Congress:
Yet I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without. Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family. I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life.If the Bear were some pro-homosexual marriage bishop packing for the Synod, he would not feel encouraged by the Pope's speech.
When you look at his secret meeting with Kim Davis in light of these words, the natural conclusion is that the Pope is trying to calm fears before the Synod that the Church will somehow normalize homosexual unions, and possibly to make a preemptive strike against any coup.
There is really no other interpretation, and the Pope would have known this. Well, one could surmise that it is a cynical feint to catch everyone off guard when he rams through some unspeakable abomination. Not likely, unless we have a psychopath as a pope.
The fact that it was secret is no big deal. This was not going to remain secret. The Pope surely knew this, too.
And yet, Pope Francis is a chameleon. It is hard to say anything with one-hundred percent certainty. Nonetheless, the Bear will remain encouraged. And we should not overlook the thoughtful and kind nature of the meeting on a personal level, where Pope Francis seems to be at his best.