The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis has met with Kentucky county clerk, Kim Davis, but did not elaborate.
In a statement released by the Holy See Press Office Thursday, its director, Father Federico Lombardi, addressed the media reports about the Pope meeting Davis in Washington, stating: “I do not deny that the meeting took place, but I have no comments to add.”
Davis was put in jail for six days for disobeying a federal court order to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples, stressing she couldn’t go against her conscience and citing biblical opposition to same-sex marriage. Davis’ dilemma has sparked a controversy across the country over whether government employees, along with private businesses, have a legal right to refuse to serve same-sex couples.
Pope Francis just concluded his Apostolic Visit to Cuba and the United States’ cities of Washington, New York, and Philadelphia, during which time he highlighted in his various discourses the importance of religious freedom.
According to Davis’ lawyer, Matthew Staver, Ms. Davis and her husband, Joe were discretely brought by car into the Vatican Embassy on Thursday afternoon. He noted that Francis gave her rosaries and told her to “stay strong.” During the 10 to 15 minute encounter with the Holy Father, security, helpers and photographers were reportedly present.
About the press conference on the papal flight from Philadelphia to Rome Sunday, Francis was asked about public officials refusing to carry out duties on grounds of conscience. Without mentioning Davis, the Pope responded, “I can say the conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right. … Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right, a human right.”