Pope doesn't support Kim Davis outright, says spokesman

Pope Francis talks to journalists aboard the papal plane while en route to Rome from Philadelphia on Sept. 28, 2015.Reuters

The Vatican has moved to clarify stories about the Pope's meeting with Kim Davis during his recent trip to the US.

Pope Francis was reported to have met with the Kentucky-based clerk who refused to issue a marriage licence to a same sex couple. She was subsequently sent to prison for a short spell.

Davis' lawyers suggested that the Pontiff had enthusiastically met with her while her lawyer Matt Staver claimed that he had told her to "stay strong."

However, the Vatican has now made a statement which puts a little distance between Davis, who's an Apostolic Pentecostal, and the head of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Pope's official spokesperson Fr Federico Lombardi said, "The brief meeting between Mrs Kim Davis and Pope Francis at the Apostolic Nunciature [Embassy] in Washington, DC has continued to provoke comments and discussion.

He continued, "Pope Francis met with several dozen persons who had been invited by the nunciature to greet him as he prepared to leave Washington DC 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."

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis (left) says Pope Francis (right) told her during their meeting at the Vatican Embassy in Washington D.C. last week to 'stay strong.'Reuters

This seems to imply that the Holy Father wasn't aware of the specifics of Davis' case and that reports of the Pope's wholehearted support for her course of action have been exaggerated.

Lombardi went on to say, "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".

LGBT rights groups had spoken out in opposition to claims that the Pope was giving his full support to Davis, but now it seems the situation may not be as clear cut as first reported. However, the Vatican appears to now be keen to move on from the story as when he was further pressed by journalists during a press conference about the Synod on the Family, Fr Lombardi said, "This press conference is about the synod and not Kim Davis. I have nothing more to say on the matter."