Pope Francis met privately with Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who has refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, and encouraged her to "stay strong," according to a press release from Liberty Counsel, which is representing Davis.
"Thank you for your courage. Stay strong," Francis told Davis, as he held out his hands and asked her to pray for him. Davis held his hands and said, "I will. Please pray for me." The two then embraced.
The meeting occurred during the pontiff's visit to Washington, D.C. on September 24, and took place at the Vatican Embassy. A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, didn't deny the encounter took place but said on Wednesday in Rome he had no comment on the topic.
"The Holy See is aware of the reports of Kim Davis meeting with the Holy Father. The Vatican does not confirm the meeting, nor does it deny the meeting. There will be no further information given," a statement reads, according to ABC News.
Editor's Note: Do You Approve of Pope Francis? Vote Here
Davis was jailed for several days for contempt of court for refusing to issue marriage licenses before finally being released. She has removed her name and title from the licenses, a practice that has been questioned by one of her deputies.
"I was humbled to meet Pope Francis. Of all people, why me?" Davis said. "I never thought I would meet the pope. Who am I to have this rare opportunity? I am just a county clerk who loves Jesus and desires with all my heart to serve him."
Pope Francis was "kind, genuinely caring and very personable," Davis said.
Tip: How to Retire Comfortably on $2000
Francis met with Davis and her husband, Joe, speaking to them in English and presenting them with two rosaries he had blessed. Davis' parents are Catholic and she plans to give the rosaries to them.
"I was crying. I had tears coming out of my eyes,” Davis said in an interview with ABC News.
"I'm just a nobody, so it was really humbling to think he would want to meet or know me."
Former Ark. Gov. Mike Huckabee, who has been a stalwart supporter of Davis, said he was told of the meeting, according to Breitbart News.
“While the media elites were slobbering all over themselves because Pope Francis commented on climate change, the Pope was having a quiet and powerful meeting with a humble Apostolic county clerk from Kentucky,” Huckabee told Breitbart.
The Pope recognized something that the chattering class in Washington and Wall Street will never understand—that Kim Davis followed her conscience and convictions. The Pope thanked Kim for doing so and congratulated her for her stand. The media mocked and derided millions of Americans who supported Kim’s constitutional right to religious liberty. It may just be a visit from the Pope that pushes the out of touch political class in Washington to finally stand up to judicial tyranny and for religious liberty."
Francis spent a week in the United States, visiting Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia.
After his departure Sunday night, he held a press conference and told journalists aboard his plane that government officials had a "human right" to conscientiously object
to signing same-sex marriage licenses. The pontiff made no mention of meeting Davis.
"Conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right," Francis said. "It is a human right and if a government official is a human person, he has that right."
That led to speculation in the media of whether the pope was aware of Davis and her situation.
Doctor: Weird Gut Bacteria Linked to Obesity, Heart, More
"Not only did Pope Francis know of Kim Davis, he personally met with her to express his support," Mat Staver, founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.
"The challenges we face in America regarding the sanctity of human life, marriage, and religious freedom are the same universal challenges Christians face around the world. Religious freedom is a human right that comes from God," Staver said. "Kim Davis has become a symbol of this worldwide conflict between Christian faith and recent cultural challenges regarding marriage."
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.