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Vatican Confirms Pope Francis Privately Met With Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis, Encouraged Her To 'Stay Strong'

( [email protected] ) Sep 30, 2015 01:48 PM EDT
The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis met with and prayed with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis during his visit to Washington, D.C. last week, where he reportedly told her to "stay strong."
Kentucky clerk Kim Davis stands with Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee following her release from jail. AP photo

The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis met with and prayed with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis during his visit to Washington, D.C. last week, where he reportedly told her to "stay strong."

Mat Staver, attorney and founder of the Liberty Counsel, told CBS News on Tuesday night that the two briefly met on Thursday, Sept. 24, at the Vatican Embassy in Washington.

"Staver said Pope Francis spoke to Davis in English and asked her to pray for him. He said Davis, in return, asked the pope to pray for her. The pope told her to stay strong, according to her lawyer," CBS reported.

"Staver said the pope also gave Kim and her husband rosaries he had blessed."

The attorney claimed that Francis also apparently thanked Davis for the courage she has displayed.

"There was no interpreter. 'Thank you for your courage,' Pope Francis said to me. I said, 'Thank you, holy father.' 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," Davis added in an Inside the Vatican report.

"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."

Staver also said that the Vatican has possession of photos of the meeting. While the Vatican at first refused to "confirm nor deny" such claims, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said on Wednesday, "I do not deny that the meeting took place, but I have no comment to add."

As reported by the Gospel Herald, Davis spent six days in jail earlier in September after she refused to sign same-sex marriage licenses due to her religious belief that marriage should remain between one man and one woman.

"God's moral law conflicts with my job duties," Davis has said. "You can't be separated from something that's in your heart and your soul."

"I am no hero. I'm just a person that's been transformed by the grace of God, who wants to work, be with my family. I just want to serve my neighbors quietly without violating my conscience," the clerk added.

On Monday, Pope Francis was asked about the Davis case on his flight back to Rome from Philadelphia, The National Catholic Reporter reported.

The Roman Catholic Church leader said that he is unaware of the details around the case, but argued that "conscientious objection is a right - it is a human right."

Francis, who recently concluded a week-long visit to America, said that if rights are denied in certain circumstances, it would create a situation where some human rights are deemed more important than others.

The pope also contended that Davis, as a human being, should be allowed the right to follow her conscience.