Did Pope Francis meet ‘privately’ with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis last week?

You guys remember Kim Davis, right? She’s the thrice-divorced Kentucky county clerk who was briefly jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, because “gay marriage” is against her religion or something. The judge let her out of jail when her deputies began issuing marriage licenses, and ever since then, Davis has become a hero to that particular sect of homophobic bigots. She’s been doing interviews and getting some mainstream media coverage (which I ignored). And as it turns out, Davis might have made a quiet trip to Washington last week. The purpose of her trip? To meet privately with Pope Francis. Allegedly.

Media is buzzing about the Pope’s comments in support of conscientious objection and whether he knows about the Rowan County, Kentucky, Clerk of Court who was jailed for six days for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses. The Pope met privately with Kim Davis and her husband, Joe, at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, September 24, which was the birthday of Kim’s father. Pope Francis spoke with Kim and Joe Davis in English.

During the meeting Pope Francis said, “Thank you for your courage.” Pope Francis also told Kim Davis, “Stay strong.” He held out his hands and asked Kim to pray for him. Kim held his hands and said, “I will. Please pray for me,” and the Pope said he would. The two embraced. The Pontiff presented Kim and Joe Davis each with a Rosary that he personally blessed. Kim’s mother and father are Catholic, and Kim and Joe will present the Rosaries to her parents. Kim’s mother was the elected Clerk of Court for Rowan County for 37 years until her retirement in 2014.

Kim Davis said, “I was humbled to meet Pope Francis. Of all people, why me?” Davis continued, “I never thought I would meet the Pope. Who am I to have this rare opportunity? I am just a County Clerk who loves Jesus and desires with all my heart to serve him.” Kim said, “Pope Francis was kind, genuinely caring, and very personable. He even asked me to pray for him. Pope Francis thanked me for my courage and told me to ‘stay strong.'”

[From The Liberty Council]

Note the sourcing – the Liberty Council is a far-right wingnut group considered by many in the LGBT community to be a hate group. The Southern Poverty Law Center has listed the Liberty Council on their anti-gay hate group list too. What I’m saying is that you have every right to side-eye this report, since the origin seems to be Kim Davis’s legal team and a hate group standing shoulder-to-shoulder with her cause. So far, the Vatican has not issued any kind of statement confirming or denying the meeting took place. Gawker did an analysis of Pope Francis’s itinerary and they’re finding it difficult to see when he could have possibly met with Davis as well. What I’m saying is that this could be total crap. If the Pope really did meet with a total a—hole like Kim Davis, then I will be SO disappointed.

Update: The Blaze has a “confirmation” that the meeting took place from a receptionist at the Vatican Embassy in DC.


Photos courtesy of WENN, Getty.

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91 Responses to “Did Pope Francis meet ‘privately’ with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis last week?”

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  1. lisa says:

    i dont see how they have no verification of this

    like she wouldnt ask him to pose for a picture?

  2. Lindy79 says:

    I’m calling bullshit. This bigot doesn’t do anything quietly, the fact she says he told her to stay strong and asked her to pray for him….is fucking laughable. She’s not even a Catholic so why would he ask her to pray for him?

    I honestly hope they smack her down quickly and expose her as a liar.

    • Betti says:

      Plus she’s thrice divorced so she clearly doesn’t believe in the sanctity of marriage. She’s not exactly the poster child for it.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I think it really happened.

      But I am GLAD it happened. The Pope has said some amazing things recently, but people must not forget that he is against gay marriage. He is against gay couples adopting. He sounds moderate, but really, his beliefs are more closely aligned with Kim Davis than people have been led to believe.

      • kcarp says:

        i cannot believe all of the people who are more liberal in their political thinking acting as if the Pope is a great ally. He might be in terms of refugees and climate change but everyone seems to forget the Catholic church is very much against abortion and gay rights. Just recently didn’t the Pope say a woman could be forgiven for an abortion? I don’t think that equals a stamp of approval.

        I am not sure what the policies are now but didn’t the Catholic church frown upon birth control and advised women to use natural family planning?

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Exactly, kcarp.

      • belle de jour says:

        “He sounds moderate, but really, his beliefs are more closely aligned with Kim Davis than people have been led to believe.”

        YES x 1000. This particular pope inspired an almost desperately fast embrace and a lot of wishful thinking… unless you remember his positions – and those of his church – concerning over half the world’s population.

      • ol cranky says:

        the irony is that Kim Davis’ & Mike Huckabee’s denominations and most of the fundamentalist protestant denominations have an active hate on for Catholics (aka “papists”) and the Pope.

        Heck when the Catholic Gov of Texas, Greg Abbott, had the audacity to post something about the Blessed Mother, the fundamentalists went batshit crazy on him

      • Josefa says:


        This. I think Pope Francis is a HUGE step forward for the Catholic church, because for once I see a catholic person who really cares about the poor and social inequality (which is basically what Jesus was all about) except of over-analyzing the couple verses of the Bible which talk about homosexuality. But he’s still a member of the catholic church and, obviously, very much catholic, so why were people expecting him to be so liberal concerning gay rights and abortions?

    • lasagna_jones says:

      he asks everyone to pray for him. it’s his Thing.

  3. Mia4S says:

    I’d be surprised. His schedule was beyond tight and dozens of reporters were camped out even while he slept.

    That said it’s quite possible she travelled there and was in the same place at the same time. He stops and talks to lots of people but I doubt the moment was personal like they want us to believe. Something is sketchy here.

  4. doofus says:

    Vatican spokesman said he would “neither confirm nor deny” the reports and that there would be “no further statement made”.

    WTF? usually, the Vatican will actually confirm or deny something, so why are they being tight-lipped about this? I guess they don’t want to squander all the good will they earned on this trip.

    • Mia4S says:

      I think that goes to my theory that he may have met her in passing in a group. No way he remembers every person. So if they deny then suddenly someone will show up with a photo showing they actually did meet somewhere. This says to me they are not sure. Either way, someone is not happy at the Vatican.

    • Tpaz says:

      Where did you see that? No comment is usually PR talk for “it happened, but we don’t want to look bad, so we won’t confirm it”

      • doofus says:

        several sources have reported it…it’s one of the main stories on CNN.com. I don’t want to link as it may get deleted but the person they quote is “Ciro Benedettini, a Vatican spokesman”

        and I agree on your take of “PR talk”.

  5. aims says:

    I’d be heartbroken if the Pope met with her. I wished Kim and Mike Huckabee and that whole group of people would go away. How can anyone proudly be a bigot?

    • saras says:

      Yes that would be awful! Glad most of the hateful intolerant generations will be dying off soon.

      • Alicia says:

        “Glad most of the hateful intolerant generations will be dying off soon.”

        The irony in this sentence is hilarious.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      But the Pope shares a lot of beliefs with Kim and Mike Huckabee. They all don’t believe that gay couples should have the right to marry. They don’t think gay couples should be able to adopt children.

  6. eribra says:

    I don’t believe they met but he is catholic and they don’t believe in same sex marriage.

    • Jenns says:

      They also don’t believe in divorce and kids out of wedlock and girlfriend has plenty of those.

    • Lindy79 says:

      They don’t you’re right but Pope Francis has said that while the church doesn’t agree with it, he believes in mercy, respect and treating people as such regardless of sexuality.

      I would be truly shocked if she met with them beyond her flying down there and standing in the crowd waving, he probably made eye contact with her and she took that as divine intervention and read his mind.

      I loathe this thing.

      • Birdix says:

        Agreed. He might have met her, and not had any idea of her significance. She stands to gain a whole lot more from this in this of good publicity than he does. Way to take suck all of the goodwill out of his visit…

      • Tiffany :) says:

        But he doesn’t want gay couples to have the legal right to marry or adopt. He might think it is ok for them to be forgiven, but he also thinks its ok to block their legal equality.

    • SnarkySnarkers says:

      I’m not understanding where the disappointment is coming from? At the end of the day the catholic faith does not believe in gay marriage. Yes, this new pope spouts off about loving everyone but if he, like politicians, has changed his stance on a lot of issues since he was an archbishop. The catholic church needed a mega facelift and they knew it. This is why I believe they have softened their image with the new warm and fuzzy pope.

      Hes also quoted 2 days ago when asked about employees refusing to perform gay marriage “I can’t have in mind all the cases that can exist about conscientious objection … but yes, I can say that 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.”

      Sounds like he sides with Kim Davis….

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        If he met with her, I would be disappointed, and I’m not Catholic. I just thought he was more progressive than that, even though he has an anti-gay marriage stance. I sort of bought into his “but treat everyone with respect” stuff, though I don’t really think the two positions are compatible. I guess I just wanted to think he represented a less oppressive church. And I thought he was smart enough to see that if her principles didn’t allow her to obey the law she was elected to enforce, she should resign rather than keep people from obtaining a license. Guess I was wrong if this is true. Gross.

      • SnarkySnarkers says:

        Totally agree GNAT! I wanted to like him too (not catholic either) but it looks like he really did meet with her according to more and more reports coming out. I’m sure she is all smug about it. Shame.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        100% agree, SnarkySnarkers.

        He’s good with the PR, but the belief system hasn’t changed.

      • jwoolman says:

        That statement is not “siding with Kim Davis”. Conscientious objectors don’t just break the law, prevent others from following the law, and expect to keep that $80,000 a year salary. They expect consequences. A real CO would have resigned from her position if the law was one she could not carry out in good conscience and allowing others in the office to do it was unacceptable to her. She just didn’t want to give up the money.

        I doubt that the Pope knew anything about the Kim Davis case. He does know about CO status in other situations such as military service and medical personnel needing to refuse to participate in activities they believe to be immoral such as elective abortions. Catholics had little church support as COs in the Vietnam War, so his statement is helpful in that case. There are laws protecting medical personnel as well and Catholics are more likely than most to run into the problem in cases of abortion not needed for obvious medical reasons. But if alternative arrangements can’t be made, the person just has to be willing to quit the job. It is indeed important to respect conscience even when your own conscience leads you in a very different direction.

        I also doubt that letting same-sex couples have a secular marriage license is such a huge deal to the Pope. It’s the law of the land and has no effect on church practices. He may believe that same-sex relationships are wrong for various reasons, but that doesn’t mean he thinks it’s a major deal judging from other things he’s said.

        Fun fact: Marriage is a sacrament that is actually administered by the people getting married. The priest is just an official witness… People tend to forget that because they talk about “getting married by a priest”. But they get married by each other, which would seem to be an interesting loophole for Catholic same-sex couples. They don’t really need a priest.

    • Nic919 says:

      She is a hypocrite and Pharisee to a huge degree. I can’t see why the Pope would want to meet one of the worst examples of a religious bigot out there. He is trying to give the Catholic Church good PR not worse PR.

      I am hoping it is simply a matter of they don’t know for sure if she was in a crowd, but didn’t actually request to meet her.

  7. Boston Green Eyes says:

    I don’t believe this. I only believe that this woman is a verified whackadoo.

    • Pandy says:

      God, I don’t WANT to believe this … why meet this freak and lend any kind of credibility? I was hoping he would be a progressive pontiff … he was making moves In that direction … but sounds like same RC BS.

  8. Sayrah says:

    I doubt she’s catholic but I don’t see him meeting with her. Still, it’s a crazy think to lie about if it’s not true. And yes I’ll be disappointed in him as well.

    • L says:

      She’s apostolic christian-and they basically believe that the pope and catholics are the anti christ. Because they worship mary and statues etc etc.

      There’s no way this can be true.

      • Matador says:

        Wouldn’t put it past her to take her “support” wherever she can get it, hypocrisy be damned – I mean she also has done quite a bit of sinning according to the Old Testament but gave herself a pass by claiming she came to Jeebus. This is a woman for whom the “rules” are pretty fluid depending on what she needs, when.

        Nevertheless, I think this is baloney.

      • doofus says:

        L, thanks for clarifying…I thought her church was one of those who didn’t really “recognize” the Pope as a leader of the church and actually ACTIVELY “shunned” him.

      • paranormalgirl says:

        Catholics do not worship anyone but the Holy Trinity. They pray to Mary and the Saints for Intercession, which is different than worship.

      • L says:

        @paranormalgirl- Yup I know that-just repeating what Kim Davis’ religion teaches.

  9. Lilacflowers says:

    “Private” meetings with the Pope tend to involve dozens of people and last less than a minute

  10. Jenns says:

    This is literally a “pics or it didn’t happen” event.

  11. Nancy says:

    This was reported on one of this morning shows. Supposedly he called her brave and gave her a rosary which purportedly she gave to her in laws or someone because she isn’t Catholic. I wish people would fact check and not get so excited to have scoop that they leak false info. If it is true, it’s wrong imo. She needs the prayer not the praise.

  12. Matador says:

    Sounds like another of Kim’s delusions, right up there with, “I can refuse to do my job without repercussions.”

  13. LAK says:

    Don’t these people hate catholics? Or is that a different set of religious bigots.

  14. MG says:

    I hope this isn’t true. If he did meet with her I would hope he would tell her to stop being a hate filled hypocritical bigot.

    • Vizia says:

      My guess is that if they did meet, this is exactly what he said–rather more tactfully but still, look at his meeting with Castro and how he talked to Congress. No one got a pass. Just firm and loving truth.

  15. OhDear says:

    Don’t have much to say as to the veracity of this story, but her lawyers have a history of lying (for example, claiming that there was a huge rally in Peru in support of Davis).

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      Yeah them continually claiming there’s some huge magical support for her in Peru makes me think they’re just moe lying liars who lie.

      Frankly I want her back in jail already for trying to screw with the forms again.

    • jwoolman says:

      Peru?!? People in Peru care about US legal issues? Who knew.

  16. Red32 says:

    I’m side-eying this for two reasons – in my experience, the hardcore Conservative Christians like she appears to be generally don’t like the Catholics and see the Pope as a false idol. See also: Jessa Duggar’s husband’s anti-Catholic rant. They’d be far more likely to try to “save” Kim’s parents than give them rosaries.

    Also, this Pope went on record saying too much time is spent fighting gay marriage instead of fighting poverty. I don’t see him getting involved with this nut knowing what kind of backlash there would be.

  17. iheartjacksparrow says:

    According to one of the local news anchors who was following the Pope during his entire trip, he loves to take selfies with people. So if she met him, and there’s no photo, then I can almost guarantee that she’s a liar. Also, it kept being mentioned that he goes out of his way to meet children and sick/disabled people, and Kim is neither. If the Vatican won’t confirm, that probably means that they don’t want to call her out as being a wacko.

  18. pleaseicu says:

    I thought her particular brand of born-again christianity hated Catholics and even went so far as to not consider Catholics Christians? I tend to stay away from most organized religion so I may be way off base on that. Why would she meet with the head of a religion she doesn’t recognize as Christian? I guess I shouldn’t be shocked that a POS like her would hypocritically meet with the leader of a religion she doesn’t recognize as part of Christianity if it bolsters her public profile and helps legitimize her bigotry and intolerance.

    I’ll be so disappointed in Pope Francis if he did meet with her. So much for bringing the Church into a more modern and tolerant time. Kim Davis’ intolerance and hate is the antithesis of what he publicly preaches. Then again I really shouldn’t be shocked that a politician and religious leader is hypocritical behind closed doors, right?

  19. CloverDilly says:

    I’m calling bullshit on this. I don’t think he’d go out of his busy schedule to meet with Davis, let alone give her rosary beads. While the news outlets are reposting the story, it seems to be coming from her lawyers. PR campaign to use the Popes successful visit to the US to drum up support for their wackadoodle client. Show me the reciepts

  20. Dee says:

    I truly hope this not true. It will take away all the goodwill I have for him

  21. MARKWEER says:

    Anything is possible. The Pope meets with many, many people. I doubt that he or his team even really knew anything about her and given he kisses lepers and prays for the infirm, if she was doing her usual zealot/crying fanatic behavior she seems to always exhibit he probably just saw her as an eager overwhelmed acolyte and Blessed her as he would anyone else. I can’t with this woman. She may be a religious extremist to a degree, but she’s tasted the drug called FAME and like most famewhores need for it has trumped everything else in her life.

  22. Diana B says:

    I don’t get how anyone is surprised by this. Anyone really paying attention to this pope knows he’s all pr and not a big change as averybody loves to parrot arround. He did support that Polish referendum to deny marriage equality there. He took a very active role in advocating against marriage equality when Argentina was deciding on the issue. He still represents the same church that refuses to pay its child sexual abuse victim. Of course he met up with that bigot and commended her for her “courage”.

    • SnarkySnarkers says:

      THIS!!!! People get blinded by babies in pope costumes me thinks.

    • The Bucket Lady says:

      THANK YOU!!
      Talk to the abuse survivors network.
      The pope is masterful at public relations that foster the impression of reform but change little or nothing. He’s done lots for church morale but little on abuse
      He hasn’t exposed one cleric … nor has he ordered any of the world’s 5,100 bishops to do so.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      Great points, Diana.

    • Abbicci says:

      Meet the new Pope, same as the old Pope.

      He might be more humble but he still wants to deny many people rights, especially the rights of women to have dominion over their own bodies and for gay and lesbian people to be denied the right to marry.

      The same old crap dressed up in something new is still the same old crap.

  23. Wooley says:

    This pope has done nothing for the victims of child sex abuse!

  24. Neelyo says:

    Her team or whatever she calls the idiots who represent her told a huge lie last week about over 100,000 Peruvians who held a rally in her honor. The photo evidence they provided turned out to be a picture from a few years back. So I’m taking the Pope thing with a grain of salt.

  25. Well that's a shame says:

    It’s being confirmed by major news organizations.

  26. Saks says:

    But she isnt a Catholic, why would he?

    I really would be disappointed with him if he did.

  27. Miss Jupitero says:

    Major news is confirming it, but the quote does not sound like a clear confirmation to me. From NYT:

    “On Wednesday, the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, confirmed that the meeting took place, but he declined to elaborate. “I do not deny that the meeting took place, but I have no other comments to add,” he said.”

    Anyone want to clarify this? Is this truly confirmed?

    If so, I am deeply disappointed in Pope Francis. Not surprised, but disappointed.

    • Jay says:

      I’ve learned to expect nothing but sh*t from the church, especially the Catholic church. At the end of the day it’s a hateful, bigoted institution. And the Pope is the king of it, so no surprise or disappointment here!

  28. Jayna says:

    How disappointing.

  29. Pumpkin Pie says:

    The Pope should first take care of the pedofile TRAGEDY and violence and poverty affecting many countries with large Catholic population. Plus, there are also many stories about homosexuality inside the Vatican. Or are they against gay marriage only?
    I so didn’t want to click on this post.

  30. KellyCanada says:

    When Pope Francis first became Pope, he said “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

    I for one do not believe for a second that he told Kim Davis to “stay strong” in relation her being a supreme bigot.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      He might say “who am I do judge”, but see Diana’s post above about how he actively worked to deny marriage rights to gay couples in Poland and Argentina. His comment sounds lovely, but he still doesn’t think gay couples should have the right to marry or adopt.

    • Sarah says:

      By him saying “searches for the lord” , it actually means someone who is homosexual but never acts upon it, has vowed to repent and will ‘change their ways’. They can’t be actively and openly gay and committing ‘sinful acts’.

      Anyone can be forgiven for anything as long as they confess and repent (i.e. admit they were sinful and promise to be better).

      This whole idea is offensive – just turn off your gayness and apologise and we’ll forgive you! It isn’t the church being progressive – it’s them being sneaky!

      When he said “who am I to judge” – well no humans should judge others as it is the Lord’s duty to judge! Him saying that means nothing.

  31. Amy M. says:

    Pretty sure I read an article from the New York Times last night confirming the visit. So it probably did happen. I’m disappointed but glad they had the foresight to release it after he left because then the coverage would have just given Kim Davis more of a platform to air her bigoted views.

    The Pope is more progessive than previous popes and did publicly state “Who am I to judge?” relating to gay men wanting to join the Catholic Church as priests (not gay people in general). However that does not mean he’s all groovy with same sex marriage. I watched part of the TV coverage of the Feast of Families celebration he attended in Philly and while he never mentioned same sex parent families, the focus was clearly on heterosexual couples and their kids. He may have heard that Kim Davis was being “forced” to hand out marriage licenses to same sex couples (it made the news worldwide I keep up with news in French and Spanish) and met with her privately to commend her for sticking to her guns? In any case I’m not surprised this happened since Francis made remarks about people not being forced to give out same sex marriage licenses if it went against their religious beliefs on his way back to Italy. I was wondering what prompted these remarks and now it all makes sense.

  32. Isabelle says:

    Think it happened, big news sources are saying it happened but don’t think its what she it making out to be, the pope supporting her. More like the pope giving her a pat on the back and sending her on her way. Bet they also requested the meeting, not him…..and damn it Pope you have just made her ego even bigger and her soul more self-righteous.

  33. lisa says:

    The Nuncio won’t deny it. That’s different from yesterday when he’d neither confirm or deny. They said that if it did happen, she and her husband would have been part of a larger audience at the nunciature. Of course, her legal team is shady. They already gut caught once tying to pass off some totally unrelated Peruvian rally as a demonstration in support of her. Hard to tell.

  34. iheartgossip says:

    Liar. She’s already been proven to be a liar and a cheater. Nope. She is an attention whore and if she met the Pope, there would be tons of photos. Yes, the Vatican will never come out and say NO, cause it would cause too much drama.

    Also, her beliefs and the Pope’s do not line up. There is ZERO chances the Pope met her and told her to keep up her b.s. beliefs. NOPE. LIAR. Her pants are on fire.

  35. Lauren says:

    A national italian newspaper confirmed the news though. If he truly did meet her and encourage her to keep walking down that road, respect for him goes down the toilet.

  36. Kathy says:

    So disappointing. Kinda makes him a coward for not owning up to meeting her. So sad. I really like the guy but when it comes down to it…he stands for a lot of things I disagree with. So…not surprising.

  37. Adrien says:

    She did meet up with the pope. But I doubt he invited her. They probably invited themselves to the Vatican embassy to seek endorsement. He gives rosaries to everyone anyway ( as a souvenir). The pope is not pro gay marriage so why is this surprising? He is an ambivalent Pope. He gave a warm hug to a transgender Italian woman later he says something awful about them. He appointed a pro-equality Irish priest as ambassador and invited a group or LGBT crusaders inside Vatican then he met up with Kim Davies. He tells his Swiss guard who’s about to get married to go and make many kids then later blasts people who breeds like rabbits. He has two sides. Maybe he’s a Gemini. Am I losing hope? Not really. He is open for dialogue and it could be a good thing. It’s not like he’s going to trash a 2000 year old canon. But yeah, of all bigots he aimed for a trashy bigot. Booo!

  38. Jackie says:

    I’m an atheist and I love this pope, but I’m not under any illusion that he’s going to tackle every single issue and officially renounce millenia of tradition. I pretty much agree with every position he holds that any secular person could also hold to. He’s got to throw a bone to official doctrine every once in a while. I can live with that.

  39. buzz says:

    there are stories going around that the Pope was duped into this meeting by a nasty-minded, conservative Nuncio who essentially wanted to score points with the hard right and make the Pope look bad

  40. buzz says:

    and apparently the American Bishops opposed the meeting and tried to prevent it because they knew how it would look, that it would be very damaging to the Pope, his trip and all the outreach work he has done

  41. phlyfiremama says:

    Go home, Francis. You’re drunk.

  42. phlyfiremama says:

    Same old song and dance the catholic church has ALWAYS had~remember, they are the most corrupt institution in the world for over 2000 years and counting. Everybody ELSE help the poor~not the single richest entity in the world, whose past policies have helped INCREASE poverty. No contraception~heaven forbid, that might give women an EQUAL footing basis to progress professionally, economically and politically AND increased poverty levels. Lets saint a mass murdering colonizer. The list goes on and on and on. Time to END entirely religious tax exemptions.