After doubts were raised about a claim from Kim Davis’ legal team that Pope Francis and the Kentucky clerk met secretly during his visit to the U.S., the Vatican confirmed to The New York Times the meeting did indeed happen.
Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, told the Times: “I do not deny that the meeting took place, but I have no other comments to add.”
Later, Lombardi cut through any lingering doubts by telling BuzzFeed News “yes” when asked to confirm the meeting.
Mat Staver, Davis’ attorney, said Davis met with the Pope for about 15 minutes and took photos of the meeting.
In an interview with ABC News, Davis called the Sept. 24 meeting at the Vatican Embassy “humbling.” The event was arranged by a church official who contacted Davis, she said.
“I had tears coming out of my eyes,” Davis told ABC. “I’m just a nobody, so it was really humbling to think he would want to meet or know me.”
Davis also said the Pope hugged her and gave her and her husband Joe rosaries.
Lawyers for Kim Davis just released this photo – says @Pontifex gave Davis and her husband these rosaries last week. pic.twitter.com/PwdDiWYvhu
— Hallie Jackson (@HallieJackson) September 30, 2015
When asked whether he supports Davis’ cause during his visit, Francis said conscientious objection on religious grounds is “a human right.”
“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,” he told ABC.
Davis was jailed for six days earlier this month for repeatedly refusing to issue county marriage license to gay couples, saying the law is at odds with her personal religious beliefs.
The clerk was in Washington D.C. to accept an award at the Values Voter Summit from Family Research Council. At the event, Staver showed a photo of 100,000 attendees assembled at what he claimed was a rally in support of Davis in Lima, Peru. It was later revealed to be a photo of a crowd at a soccer stadium in Northern Peru.
The Pope also quietly met with the Little Sisters of the Poor, the order of nuns suing over Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate, during his U.S. visit, signaling support for their continued resistance.
This story has been updated.