Vatican confirms Pope Francis held private meeting with county clerk Kim Davis during US tour

He is thought to have praised her 'conscientious objection' over refusing to issue marriage certificates to same-sex couples

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The Vatican has now confirmed rumours that The Pope held a private meeting with Kim Davis and her husband during his US tour.

Rumours circulated that The Pope and Davis met at the Vatican embassy in Washington DC last week, where Davis was praised for her “courage” and told to “stay strong” by the Pope.

While Vatican spokesman Rev Federico Lombardi refused to confirm or deny the rumours at the time, a spokesman has since confirmed the news to The New York Times, though they offered no further information.

In a statement, Davis told Liberty Counsel, a Christian lobby group, that she has been “humbled” by the experience, saying: “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.”

She said Pope Francis was “kind, genuinely caring, and very personable. He even asked me to pray for him.”

Davis made headlines for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, sparking a controversy over whether government employees should be given a legal right to refuse service to same sex couples.

She was jailed for contempt of court in September after withholding all marriage licenses in 'religious protest' following the national legalisation of same-sex marriage by the US supreme court in June.

While the Pope did not publicly address Davis during his visit to the US, he spoke in broad strokes about the importance of religious freedom, saying, “Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right, a human right.”