Washington D.C., Sep 1, 2018 / 17:44 pm
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former nuncio to the US, wrote Thursday his account of Pope Francis’ 2015 meeting with Kim Davis, a county clerk who had refused out of conscience to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Davis, a clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky, served five days in jail for her refusal, in the wake of Obergefell v. Hodges.
The pope met Davis at the apostolic nunciature in Washington, D.C., Sept. 24, 2015, during his visit to the US.
Davis’ lawyer told multiple media outlets of the encounter. According to the Liberty Counsel, Davis said that “Pope Francis was kind, genuinely caring, and very personable. He even asked me to pray for him. Pope Francis thanked me for my courage and told me to 'stay strong’.”
When first asked about the meeting, then-head of the Holy See press office, Fr Federico Lombardi, said: “I don't deny that the meeting may have taken place but I don't have comments to add.”
Several days later, Oct. 2, 2015, Fr. Lombardi said Pope Francis met with Davis alongside several dozen others 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,” he said, adding that the only specific audience granted by the Pope at the nunciature “was with one of his former students and his family.”
Fr. Lombardi stated that during Pope Francis’ meeting with Davis, the Pope “did not enter into the details” of her situation, and specified that the meeting with her “should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects.”
Fr. Thomas Rosica, an English-language assistant to Holy See Press Office, told journalists Oct. 2, 2015 that Pope Francis had not been fully briefed on Davis’ situation, or the impact such a meeting would have.