The Vatican has finally responded to the political fervor sparked by news that Pope Francis met with Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, who was jailed last month for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The Vatican seemed eager to dispel the idea that Pope Francis was a dyed-in-the-wool Davis fan. Father Federico Lombardi, a Holy See spokesman, noted in a statement that the meeting was “brief” and that Francis met with “several dozen persons” for “brief greetings” that “occur on all papal visits and are due to the Pope’s characteristic kindness and availability.”
“The Pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis,” Lombardi said, “and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects.”
Mat Staver, Davis’ lawyer, told the Associated Press that Davis met the pope privately, not as part of a group, and that Francis’ “words and actions support the universal human right to conscientious objection.”
The Vatican did not respond to Davis’s detailed account of the meeting, which included Francis allegedly saying, “Thank you for your courage” and “Stay strong.”
Update 11:07am CT, Oct. 2: Added comment from Davis’ lawyer.
Illustration by Max Fleishman