On the papal plane back to the Rome, Pope Francis said that government officials have a “human right” to refuse to discharge a duty if they feel it violates their conscience. “Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right,” Francis said.
The pontiff admitted, though, that he “can’t have in mind all cases that can exist about conscientious objection.” But what would he think about the case of Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who objected to having her name on same-sex marriage licenses?
Turns out he told her, in person, to “stay strong.”
At least that’s the report of Davis’s lawyer, Mathew D. Staver. According to Staver, Davis and Francis met at the Vatican embassy:
Pope Francis met secretly in Washington last week with Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who defied a court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, her lawyer said in a telephone interview Tuesday night. Francis gave her rosaries and told her to “stay strong,” the lawyer said.
Ms. Davis and her husband, Joe, were sneaked into the Vatican Embassy by car on Thursday afternoon, according to Ms. Davis’s lawyer, Mathew D. Staver. The couple met for about 15 minutes with the pope, who was accompanied by security, aides and photographers. Mr. Staver said he expected to receive photographs of the meeting from the Vatican soon.
Mr. Staver said that Vatican officials had been aware of Ms. Davis, and that the meeting had been arranged through them, not through bishops or the bishops’ conference in the United States. He would not identify the Vatican officials.
Staver added that everyone involved agreed to keep the meeting secret until the pope had left the United States because, he said, “we didn’t want the pope’s visit to be focused on Kim Davis.”