Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, issued a final clarification on Pope Francis’ brief meeting with Kim Davis, downplaying its characterization in the media.
Fr. Lombardi stated that along with Kim Davis, several dozen people were also invited by the Nunciature to greet the Holy Father before he departed for New York City. “Such brief greetings occur on all papal visits and are due to the Pope’s characteristic kindness and availability,” he stated. “The only real audience granted by the Pope at the Nunciature was with one of his former students and his family.”
“The Pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects.”
Davis, who serves as the county clerk for the state of Kentucky, was imprisoned for 6 days for refusing to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples, which prompted a nationwide debate on conscientious objection.
On his return flight from the US, Pope Francis expanded on the issue of conscientious objection. “I can say the conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right. … Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right, a human right.”
At a press conference on the upcoming Synod of the Family, the director of the Holy See Press Office was once again asked to give details on the private meeting.
When asked whether the Holy Father was aware of all aspects of the case and on how the meeting was organized, Fr. Lombardi said that his statement was released in order to clarify the context of the meeting and to avoid further speculation.
“I have no further comment on this,” he told journalists.