Justice

Vatican Clarifies Pope Francis' Visit With Kim Davis

October 2nd 2015

By:
Kyle Jaeger

Don't read too far into the pope's secret meeting with Kim Davis, a spokesperson for the Vatican said on Friday. In an apparent effort to distance Pope Francis from the controversial Kentucky clerk, Reverend Federico Lombardi released a statement saying that the arrangement "should not be considered a form of support of her position."

RELATED: Why Kim Davis Is at Odds with the Law

Davis was one of "several dozen" people who were invited to the Vatican embassy in Washington D.C. to meet Francis, and though she made a considerable deal out of the conversation—describing the meeting with the pope on Good Morning America—Lombardi suggested that it was a "brief meeting," most likely arranged by embassy officials.

"Lombardi said the Vatican wanted to 'clarify' what happened 'in order to contribute to an objective understanding of what transpired,'" the AP reported.

RELATED: George Takei Issued a Blistering Response to the Celebration of Kim Davis

Here's who else Pope Francis met with.

And in the latest twist to the Francis-Davis controversy—which had some Americans cheering the pope's seeming show of support for the clerk and others condemning the move—the spokesperson revealed that the "only real audience granted by the pope at the nunciature" was Yayo Grassi, the pope's former student. Grassi is openly gay, and the pope also met his partner.

The terminology appears to have some significance: As opposed to a meeting, an audience is planned and more formal—something that popes have with heads of states, the AP reported. So by emphasizing the difference between Davis' meeting with Francis and Grassi's "audience" status, Lombardi appeared to be playing the former arrangement down.

In her interview with ABC News, Davis said that simply "knowing that the pope is on track with what we're doing and agreeing, you know, it kind of validates everything." The government official spent five days in jail after refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite the U.S. Supreme Court's June ruling, which legalized gay marriage nationwide.

RELATED: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's Perfect Response to Kim Davis and Her Supporters

Read the full statement from the Vatican below. 

"The brief meeting between Mrs. Kim Davis and Pope Francis at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, DC has continued to provoke comments and discussion. In order to contribute to an objective understanding of what transpired I am able to clarify the following points:

"Pope Francis met with several dozen persons who had been invited by the Nunciature to greet him as he prepared to leave Washington for New York City. Such brief greetings occur on all papal visits and are due to the Pope’s characteristic kindness and availability. 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."