According to reports from her legal team, Francis met with Kim Davis during his visit to Washington D.C.
As many of you know, Davis is the Kentucky county clerk who went to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because it violated her religious beliefs. Here is a taste of a report from Religion News Service:
(RNS) Pope Francis secretly met Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk under fire for refusing to issue marriage licenses for gay couples, while he was in Washington last week, according to reports out Tuesday (Sept. 29).
“The pope spoke in English,” Davis told Robert Moynihan of Inside the Vatican magazine, a conservative periodical that reported the news on its website, which crashed soon afterward. “There was no interpreter.”
Davis told Moynihan that Francis said to her, “Thank you for your courage.”
“I said, ‘Thank you, Holy Father,’” Davis reportedly said. “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. 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.
So far this story has not been confirmed by the Vatican.
Having said that, there are three reasons why this might be true:
1. Why would Davis and her lawyers make-up something like this when it could easily be fact-checked with the Vatican?
2. On the plane ride back to Rome, Pope Francis said that “conscientious objection is a human right.” He did not mention Davis in his answer, but the question was certainly about Davis.
3. It makes perfect sense that Francis would say this. The Catholic Church is opposed to same-sex marriage and supports conscientious objection on religious grounds. In fact, many of the principles of Catholic social teaching are currently against the law in the United States. Catholic social teaching opposes abortion, but abortion is legal in this country. Catholic social teaching opposes same-sex marriage, but same-sex marriage is legal in the United States. Catholic social teaching defends immigrants, but undocumented immigration is illegal. Catholic social teaching opposes the death penalty, but the death penalty is legal in the United States.
What Kim Davis did was illegal. But much of what the Pope and the Church stand for is also illegal in the United States. It makes perfect sense that Francis would support Davis’s conscientious objection on this front.
Let’s see how this unfolds.