Pope Francis’ visit to the United States was met with much fanfare. The head of the Vatican stopped in Washington, Philadelphia and New York while greeting thousands of supporters, including anti-gay clerk, Kim Davis.
Davis vaulted into the national spotlight when she denied marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Kentucky. Four couples filed a lawsuit against Davis, who ended up spending five days in a county jail when Judge David Bunning found her in contempt of court. Citing her beliefs has an Apostolic Christian, Davis said she couldn’t violate her conscience by contributing to same-sex marriage. According to a report by CBS News on Sept. 29, Francis met with Davis during his trip and offered his support.
Davis’ attorney, Mat Staver of the conservative Christian Liberty Counsel, told CBS that Francis held a private meeting with Davis on Sept. 24 in Washington, D.C. at the Vatican Embassy. Francis encouraged Davis to “stay strong,” prayed with her, and also gave her rosaries that he personally blessed. The Vatican reportedly is in possession of photos of the two from their meeting.
Francis came under scrutiny on Monday when he responded to reporters who asked if he supported individuals who refuse to abide by laws, even if it included denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Francis replied that “conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right.” Following his comments, the reaction was split within the media and on social media. Defenders of Francis claim his words were taken out of context, while critics used his words as an example that the pontiff isn’t as liberal as many claim him to be.