Archbishop Vigano said he went that evening, with two of his counselors, to the hotel where the Secretary of State was staying, and he was met by two of his deputies, Archbishop Angelo Becciu and Archbishop Paul Gallagher. Cardinal Parolin had already retired for the night.
"I gave them the same memo that I had given to the Pope, setting forth its content and explaining the reason for my visit, Archbishop Vigano wrote. "After considering the case, Archbishop Becciu was immediately in favor of the Pope receiving Davis privately before he left Washington for New York."
He said Archbishop Gallagher was more cautious, but was reassured by a canonist of the nunciature that "there were no procedural obstacles," and he then "gave an unconditionally favorable opinion that the Pope should receive Davis."
According to Archbishop Vigano, the following morning he told the pope of the positive opinion of the officials from the Secretariat of State. "The Pope then gave his consent, and I organized to have Davis come to the Nunciature without anyone noticing, by having her sit in a separate room," he said.
The former nuncio wrote that he told the L'Osservatore Romano photographer not to release photos of the meeting without his superior's permission, and that his photos are kept in the paper's photographic archive.
That afternoon, Archbishop Vigano recounted, Pope Francis "entered as planned into the sitting room where Davis and her husband were waiting for him. He embraced her affectionately, thanked her for her courage, and invited her to persevere. Davis was very moved and started crying. She was then taken back to her hotel in a car driven by a pontifical gendarme, accompanied by an American Monsignor and staff member of the Nunciature."
The former nuncio said he was called by Cardinal Parolin in October 2015, after the news of the meeting had broke, who told him, "You must come immediately to Rome because the Pope is furious with you."
Archbishop Vigano wrote that he met with the pope Oct. 9, 2015 for about an hour, during which he "did not mention even once the audience with Davis", and praised the visit to the US and his reception there.
"As soon as my audience with the Pope was over, I immediately phoned Cardinal Parolin," Archbishop Vigano wrote, "and said to him, 'The Pope was so good with me. Not a word of reproach, only praise for the success of his visit to the USA.' At which point Cardinal Parolin replied, 'It's not possible, because with me he was furious about you.'"
Archbishop Vigano wrote that regarding Cruz' interview with the New York Times, "either Cruz or the Pope" lied about Francis' understanding of his visit with Davis.
"What is certain is that the Pope knew very well who Davis was, and he and his close collaborators had approved the private audience," the former nuncio stated. "Journalists can always check, by asking the prelates Becciu, Gallagher and Parolin, as well as the Pope himself."
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"It is clear, however, that Pope Francis wanted to conceal the private audience with the first American citizen condemned and imprisoned for conscientious objection."