The Vatican says Pope Francis did meet with the Kentucky county clerk jailed for refusing to issue same sex marriage licenses, but that meeting was not a show of support for her cause.
Kim Davis' lawyer announced Wednesday that Davis and her husband secretly met with the pope while he was in Washington, D.C., and that the Pope had allegedly told Davis to "stay strong."
The announcement drew controversy because Davis has become the face of the national debate over whether government employees and private businesses have a legal right to refuse to serve same-sex couples based on their religious beliefs. Davis herself spent five days in jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling upholding the legality of same-sex marriage.
But the Vatican says the meeting should not be seen as an endorsement of Davis' views.
The head of the Holy See's Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, issued this statement Friday morning:
The brief meeting between Mrs. Kim Davis and Pope Francis at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, DC has continued to provoke comments and discussion. In order to contribute to an objective understanding of what transpired I am able to clarify the following points:
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. The only real audience granted by the Pope at the Nunciature was with one of his former students and his family.
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.
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