Dylan Vrana, Eschatology Correspondent
Kim Davis, Clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, kicked off a firestorm when she refused to give marriage licenses to gay couples. Derided by the left and lionized by the right, this week she has gained a surprising new ally- Pope Innocent III.
Innocent, Bishop of Rome from 1198 to 1216 and instigator of the Fourth and Fifth Crusades, met with Davis this week on his visit to the United States. According to anonymous sources, the two spoke at length on topics ranging from Davis’ spirituality and views to Innocent’s papal bull preventing Jews from owning Christian slaves.
Innocent was approving of Davis’ refusal to offer marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a rebellion against secular influence in the religious sphere which he likened to his own attempts to keep the Vatican independent. “I didn’t manipulate [Holy Roman Emperor] Frederick II just to have all my good work come to nothing,” he reportedly told Davis. He also cited his experience persecuting the Cathars, a Christian sect who (it is alleged) tolerated homosexuals.
Despite their shared values, Davis and Innocent disagreed on some points. Davis is part of a Oneness Pentacostal church, while Innocent was known (in his time) for violent intolerance of most non-Catholics. Davis disagrees with Innocent on a remarkable range of theological issues. The last time this happened, Innocent levied an army that sacked Constantinople, but he and Davis were able to focus on their similarities and build common ground.
On parting, Innocent gave Davis a copy of his book De Miseria Humanae Conditionis (“On the Misery of the Human Condition”), saying that she would find it “very illuminating.”
Rev. Fredrico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, urges us to not take this as support of Davis. “I just want to remind everyone that the words and actions of the deathless shade of a Crusader should not be taken as the official position of the Holy See. Innocent III has not spoken for us since he was replaced by Honorius III in 1216.”
When asked whether rumors that conservative elements in the Church want to reinstate Innocent III are true, Lombardi refused to comment.