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Vatican begins push-back against ex-ambassador over Davis

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican is starting to push back against Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, author of the bombshell accusation of a sex abuse cover-up against Pope Francis, with a statement from its former spokesman about a controversial 2015 meeting Vigano organized.

The Rev. Federico Lombardi and his English-language assistant, the Rev. Thomas Rosica, issued a joint statement late Sunday disputing Vigano’s claims about the encounter he organized with an American anti-gay marriage campaigner, Kim Davis, during Francis’ September 2015 visit to the United States.

The Vatican had sought to downplay the encounter after conservatives presented it as a papal stamp of approval for Davis.

Vigano, whose cover-up claims have thrown Francis’ papacy into turmoil, issued another statement saying Francis knew well who Davis was, and the Vatican approved the meeting in advance.