Meeting 'should not be considered a form of support of her position'

The Vatican has downplayed Pope Francis’s meeting with Kim Davis, a court clerk from Kentucky who has become a cause celebre in the United States because of her refusal to authorise a same-sex marriage.

In a statement Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi said “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 was widely criticised in the American media for meeting Ms Davis, a four-times married evangelical Christian, during his visit to the United States. But in his statement Jesuit Fr Lombardi said that: “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.”