WASHINGTON — The embattled Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, who identifies as an Apostolic Pentecostal, met privately on Thursday with Jorge Bergoglio, also known as “Pope Francis,” who is the head of the Roman Catholic religion, during his visit to the United States.
According to reports, the meeting took place in Washington, D.C. following the pontiff’s address to Congress and just before he flew to New York City. Davis was in the area to receive an award from Family Research Council.
“The pope spoke in English,” she told Robert Moynihan of Inside the Vatican. “There was no interpreter. ‘Thank you for your courage,’ Pope Francis said to me. I said, ‘Thank you, Holy Father.’”
Davis said that she asked a Catholic “monsignor” if it would be okay to hug the pontiff, and was told that the greeting would be permissible.
“So I hugged him, and he hugged me back. It was an extraordinary moment,” she relayed. “‘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 advised that she plans on giving the rosaries to her parents, who are both Roman Catholic.
“[H]e said to me, ‘Please pray for me.’ And I said to him, ‘Please pray for me also, Holy Father.’ And he assured me that he would pray for me,” she recalled.
The Kentucky clerk also released a statement on Tuesday about the meeting through her attorneys at Liberty Counsel, which is an arm of Liberty University. The legal group is led by Matt Staver, a former Seventh-Day Adventist minister.
“I was humbled to meet Pope Francis. Of all people, why me?” Davis said. “I never thought I would meet the pope. Who am I to have this rare opportunity? I am just a county clerk who loves Jesus and desires with all my heart to serve him.”
“Pope Francis was kind, genuinely caring, and very personable,” she added. “He even asked me to pray for him.”
As previously reported, Davis has been in headlines in recent weeks for refusing to issue marriage licenses to homosexuals. She spent six days behind bars earlier this month when she would not comply with a judge’s order to do so because of her religious beliefs.
Davis is currently still under scrutiny after removing her name and title from the licenses being issued by Deputy Clerk Brian Mason as the ACLU is seeking to have her punished for allegedly violating a court order not to interfere with the issuance of the documents.
She has stated that from the beginning she only wished to have her name removed from the licenses as she is not seeking to stop “gay marriage” in Kentucky.
“While there are many accommodations available, the very simple accommodation I have proposed is to remove my name and my title as the clerk of Rowan County completely off the marriage license,” Davis explained in a press conference on Sept. 14. “These licenses could be issued under another authority including perhaps the Commonwealth of Kentucky or Gov. Beshear himself.”
Davis attends an Apostolic Pentecostal assembly in Morehead. According to the “Worldwide Directory of Apostolic Pentecostal Churches and Ministries,” Apostolic Pentecostals reject orthodox beliefs about the Godhead, providing a 60-point refutation of the trinity on their website. They also believe “full salvation” includes “baptism in water by immersion in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the initial sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance.”