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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 2, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 40
Pope still Catholic
Meets with Kim Davis, endorses resistance to marriage equality
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Pope still Catholic
Meets with Kim Davis, endorses resistance to marriage equality

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The Pope is still Catholic.

In spite of his image-building visit to the United States, in which he spoke warmly about social justice and held up Catholic outsiders Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton as examples to the faithful, Pope Francis has not budged an inch on marriage equality.

In fact, Francis met with anti-Gay county clerk Kim Davis, endorsed her refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses, and asked for her prayers. Later he repeated his support for her to reporters travelling with him, although he did not mention her by name.

Davis recounted the meeting in a September 30 interview with ABC News.

'I was crying. I had tears coming out of my eyes,' she said. 'I'm just a nobody, so it was really humbling to think he would want to meet or know me.'

'I put my hand out and he reached and he grabbed it, and I hugged him and he hugged me,' Davis added. 'And he said, 'thank you for your courage.'

As they parted, Davis says, the Pope asked her 'please pray for me,' and she replied, 'please pray for me, Holy Father.'

On the papal plane returning to Rome on September 27, Francis was asked by reporters if he supported 'those individuals, including government officials, who say they cannot in good conscience, their own personal conscience, abide by some laws or discharge their duties as government officials, for example when issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples?'

'I can't have in mind all cases that can exist about conscientious objection,' the Pope answered. 'But, yes, I can say the conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right. It is a right. And if a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right.'

Asked if that right also applies to government officials, Francis said, 'It is a human right and if a government official is a human person, he has that right. It is a human right.'

ABC News later said they had submitted the question for the Pope because they already had the Davis interview taped and ready to broadcast.

Vatican spokesperson Father Ciro Benedettini originally released a statement refusing to comment on reports the Pope had met with Davis.

'The Holy See is aware of the reports of Kim Davis meeting with the Holy Father. The Vatican does not confirm the meeting, nor does it deny the meeting. There will be no further information given,' the statement said.

A few hours later, Benedettini seemed to confirm reports of the meeting.

'I do not deny that the meeting took place,' he said, 'but I will not comment on it further.'

Francis DeBernardo, head of New Ways Ministry, a Catholic LGBT group, said the Pope sometimes seems to 'talk out of both sides of his mouth,' when it comes to Gay rights.

'The time for vagueness, ambiguity, and secret meetings is over,' DeBernardo said. 'Pope Francis needs to state clearly where he stands in regard to the inclusion of LGBT people in the church and society.'

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