Pope Francis met privately with controversial Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis and her husband while he was in Washington, DC last week.
Inside the Vatican Magazine is reporting that Davis, the Kentucky County Clerk jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, was invited to meet privately with Pope Francis in the Papal Nunciature in Washington, DC after his historic address to a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress.
Davis told Inside the Vatican’s editor Robert Moynihan, “The Pope spoke English. There was no interpreter.” The Pope thanked her for her courage. Davis said, “I had asked a monsignor earlier what was the proper way to greet the Pope, and whether it would be appropriate for me to embrace him, and I had been told it would be okay to hug him.
“So I hugged him, and he hugged me back. It was an extraordinary moment. ‘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 then said the Pope asked for her prayers and she asked for his. “He assured me that he would pray for me,” she said.
Francis gave Davis and her husband blessed Rosaries and they told Inside the Vatican they would be giving the Rosaries to her parents who are both Catholic. After years away from the Church, Davis became an Evangelical some years ago.
Inside the Vatican says “Vatican sources” have confirmed the meeting.
On the plane home to Rome on Sunday evening, Terry Moran of ABC News asked the Pope if he supported “those individuals, including government officials, who say they cannot in good conscience, their own personal conscience, abide by some laws or discharge their duties as government officials, for example in issue marriage license to same sex couples? Do you support those kinds of claims of religious liberty?”
Francis replied, “Conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right. It is a right. And if a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right.
“Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right, a human right. Otherwise we would end up in a situation where we select what is a right, saying ‘this right that has merit, this one does not.’ It (conscientious objection) is a human right.”
Moran pressed, “Would that include government officials as well?”
Pope Francis replied, “It is a human right and if a government official is a human person, he has that right. It is a human right.”