The Rowan County, Kentucky, salesperson spoke through the pontiff during his visit to D.C., she lawyers and also the Vatican have actually confirmed.

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The rosaries Pope Francis provided to Kim Davis, follow to a Liberty Counsel spokeperson. Keep in mind the Vatican seal. (Courtesy of Liberty Counsel)

The pope has actually left the united States, however details room still coming out around his trip. Here’s a large one: critical Thursday afternoon, during his time in Washington, D.C., the met through Kim Davis, the Rowan county clerk who has actually refused to carry out same-sex marriages, her lawyers say.

“She left at 1:15 exactly, and also she to be at the Vatican a hour and also a fifty percent or so, perhaps up to 2 hours, waiting, and also that also included the meeting,” stated Mat Staver, she attorney in ~ the for sure Liberty Counsel, said. Davis and also her husband, Joe, met with the pope because that “under 15 minutes,” Staver said. “The pope come out and also greeted her, held out his hand, ask Kim to pray because that him, and also she clasped his hands with her hands, and asked the pope to pray for her.”
One significant question is: What precisely did the pope say come Davis? “He thanked her for she courage and also told her to ‘stay strong,’” Staver said. The pope speak in English and also gave Davis and also her husband 2 rosaries, i m sorry they provided to Davis’s parents, who room Catholic.
“A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, evidenced the meeting, however declined to elaborate on it. He stated he ‘did not deny that the conference took place, but I have no various other comments to add,’” reports The brand-new York Times.
Joseph Kurtz, the archbishop the Louisville, Kentucky, and the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, wouldn’t talk about the conference itself and also how it came about, noting the he stayed about a mile away from the nunciature where Pope Francis stayed during his visit come D.C. But “I can discuss the fact that in Kentucky, I had actually said the I’m not a lawyer or a politician, but I had certainly hoped the room can be make for people of conscience,” he stated on Wednesday. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was the major coordinator of the pope’s schedule during his visit to the united States.
That this meeting taken place is rather of a surprise: Davis has been just one of the many polarizing numbers in American politics in current months, checked out by part on the appropriate as the foremost fighter versus violations of religious liberty. When Pope Francis involved the U.S., his message was precisely the opposite—one of unity and also reconciliation, no combativeness.
But it’s no surprising that the Vatican went about it this way. Throughout his visit, the pope made a non-public prevent to speak through victims of sexual abuse that the Vatican didn"t announce until the last day of his trip, hoping no to distract from the pope’s larger message. This is just how the Vatican often arranges controversial meetings: privately, and not come be mutual until later.

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Staver said Vatican officials reached out come his offices before the pope landed in the joined States and also confirmed the conference on Wednesday evening. He would not to speak which officials reached out come him. However he echoed a Vatican-like logic on exactly how the meeting come about, and why the stayed private until now. “We collectively thought that it was best not come detract indigenous the other wider messages that he had,” Staver said. “Had it been revealed also why he was here, he would certainly have obtained a many questions around Kim Davis.”
During the trip, there to be several hints that the pope was mindful of the back-and-forth about religious liberty in the unified States. That met v the tiny Sisters of the Poor, an order of nuns who have pushed back on the Obama administration’s so-called contraceptive mandate. The made a somewhat sabre-rattling defense of separation, personal, instance conscience and religious liberty at independence Hall in Philadelphia. And also on the plane back to Rome, a reporter from alphabet News, terry Moran, obliquely inquiry Pope Francis what he would think about a case like the one in Rowan County:

Holy Father, execute you likewise support those individuals, including federal government officials, who say they cannot in great conscience, their own personal conscience, abide through some regulations or discharge your duties as government officials, for example in issuing marital relationship licenses to very same sex couples. Execute you support those kinds of cases of religious liberty?

“I can say the conscientious objection is a ideal that is a part of every human being right,” the pope answered. As soon as pressed regarding whether this additionally included federal government officials, that added, “It is a human right and also if a government official is a human being person, he has actually that right. That is a person right.”
Staver likewise pointed the end that the pope mentioned flexibility of conscience during his decided to Congress, although even the most straight reference come that topic was opaque: “A vulnerable balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an belief or an financial system, while also safeguarding spiritual freedom, intellectual freedom, and individual freedoms,” the pope said.
But there may have been a certain issue on his mind. “By the point, the had currently through Kim Davis,” Staver said.*

* This write-up originally implied that Pope Francis met v Kim Davis prior to his decided to Congress, rather than after. We regret the error.