Kim Davis’s lawyer Mat Staver, of the anti-gay legal group Liberty Counsel, has released a photo of the pair of rosaries Davis and her husband allegedly received from Pope Francis during their secret meeting with him in Washington, DC last week.
Staver sent the photo of the rosaries, which feature the Vatican seal, to The Atlantic as proof of Davis’s meeting with the pontiff.
The Vatican would not confirm or deny that the meeting took place and provided no additional comment.
When asked about photos from the meeting, Staver said that Davis did not take any, but noted that the Vatican would unveil pictures soon.
But the Vatican’s subsequent close-hold on information appears to contradict this, and implies that no photos will be released.
If Pope Francis did meet with Davis, it raises questions about Francis’ remarks to a reporter on his flight back to the Vatican:
During his flight back to the Holy See from the United States earlier this week, Francis was directly asked by an ABC News reporter about the Kim Davis situation. The reporter did not mention Davis by name, but asked the pontiff whether he supports government officials who marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Francis responded by saying “I can’t have in mind all the cases that can exist about conscientious objection,” before launching into a general defense of religious liberty and conscientious objection. Some viewed the comments as a tacit defense of Davis, but others noted his unwillingness to address her specific case — presumably because he was unaware of it.
But if Francis did, in fact, meet with Davis ahead of time in a meeting organized by Vatican officials, it would cast doubt on the suggestion that he is unaware of her situation.
Staver meanwhile has said that the Pope definitely did know about Davis and her case:
“There was speculation — was he thinking of, did he know about the Kim Davis situation?” he said. “And the fact of the matter is, he not only knew about Kim Davis, but he’d already met with Kim Davis.”