ROME — The Vatican released a statement on Friday providing clarification about the Roman Catholic pontiff’s meeting with Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis last week, remarking that the encounter should not necessarily be considered as suggesting official support for the embattled clerk.
“The brief meeting between Mrs. Kim Davis and Pope Francis at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, DC has continued to provoke comments and discussion,” wrote spokesperson Federico Lombardi, stating that he sought to clarify the meeting out of a desire to “contribute to an objective understanding of what transpired.”
“Pope Francis met with several dozen persons who had been invited by the Nunciature to greet him as he prepared to leave Washington for New York City. Such brief greetings occur on all papal visits and are due to the Pope’s characteristic kindness and availability,” he explained. “The only real audience granted by the Pope at the Nunciature was with one of his former students and his family.”
Lombardi then provided a one sentence statement about the meeting with Davis.
“The Pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects,” he said.
As previously reported, Davis met with Jorge Bergoglio, also known as “Pope Francis,” in Washington, D.C. last Thursday 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.
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 last 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.