Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis met with Pope Francis in secret? First reported by Inside the Vatican, the meeting was confirmed by the Vatican on Wednesday morning, September 30, 2015. County Clerk Davis met with Pope Francis at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington Thursday afternoon, September 24, after his historic address to Congress and a few minutes before his flight to New York City.
According to The Washington Post, Davis’ attorney Mat Staver released details on Tuesday on how the county clerk met with the pope. When asked to explain the delay in making the announcement, Staver said that all parties involved did not want Pope Francis’ visit focused on Kim Davis.
Meanwhile, Planting Peace, an L.G.B.T.Q. (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer) front, put up a billboard addressing Davis in her hometown of Moorehead, Kentucky, as a punitive move for her refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses. A Mashable report revealed the following text on the billboard.
“Dear Kim Davis,
“The fact that you can’t sell your daughter for three goats and a cow means we’ve already redefined marriage.”
“PlantingPeace.org/PAID FOR BY PLANTING PEACE.”
The reference to an old Hebrew custom employing the dowry system for securing brides in a Biblical context, relates to Davis’ Bible-based stance on homosexual union. The command attributed to God regarding homosexuality is found in Leviticus 20:13.
“If a man has sexual relations with another male as he would with a woman, both have committed a repulsive act. They are certainly to be put to death.”
According to Inside the Vatican, the meeting was initially kept secret because the Vatican feared the politicization of a pastoral trip emphasizing the encounter with Jesus Christ, the poor, the faithful, the handicapped, children, and all Americans of whatever background. Regarding the Vatican’s foreknowledge of Davis’ plight, Staver indicated that unnamed Vatican officials had inquired about Davis’ situation while she was in jail.
According to the New York Times, Staver said Vatican officials had known of Kim Davis, and that the meeting had been arranged through them — not through bishops or the bishops’ conference in the United States.
CBS News reported that the Davis couple’s trip to Washington was completed on Thursday when the Rowan County clerk met with the pope at the Vatican embassy. To keep a low profile, Kim Davis traveled in a sports utility vehicle with her hair styled differently from her normal look. Shortly after the county clerk met with the pope, she shared her recollection of it with Inside the Vatican.
“The Pope spoke in English. There was no interpreter. ‘Thank you for your courage,’ Pope Francis said to me. I said, ‘Thank you, Holy Father.’ 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.”
Joe Davis later told Kim that he would give his rosary to her mother who is Catholic. Kim said in turn that she would give her rosary to her father who is also Catholic.
In her narrative to Inside the Vatican, the county clerk recounted not only what transpired when she met with the pope, but also the poignant ending.
“Then he said to me, ‘Please pray for me.’ And I said to him, ‘Please pray for me also, Holy Father.’ And he assured me that he would pray for me.”
Upon his return to Rome on Monday from his 10-day tour of the United States and Cuba, Pope Francis declared that government officials had a human right to refuse to discharge a duty if they felt it violated their conscience.
The statement in retrospect pertained to the lowly county clerk who met with the pope after her five-day jail punishment in September for refusing to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples.
[Photo by Pool/Getty Images]