“I cannot not deny the meeting took place but I have no comments to add,” Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said Wednesday in reaction to media reports that Pope Francis had met with Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who spent six days in jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, in Washington, D.C. She has said her Christian belief in marriage as ordained by God between one man and one woman would not allow her to issue licenses to same-sex couples.

Fr. Lombardi said he had nothing further to add to that statement.

Davis spoke with several media outlets in recent days. It appears the meeting took place at the Vatican nunciature in Washington last Thursday, the day that Pope Francis addressed Congress. NPR reported that Davis was in Washington for another purpose: She received a Cost of Discipleship award at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit on Friday night.


Pope Francis dedicated the catechesis of the Wednesday general audience in St. Peter’s Square to his just-conclued apostolic trip to Cuba and the United States, visiting both nations for the first time. His trip was occasioned by the Eighth World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia that took place from September 22 to 27.

AG - Sept 30

Before starting the weekly catechesis the Pope met with over 400 disabled and sick pilgrims in the Paul VI Hall.

While in the U.S. the Pope visited Washington, D.C., New York and Philaelphia. He thanked president Raul Castro of Cuba, the first country he visited, as well as U.S. president Barack Obama and United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-Moon, for their respective welcomes.

Francis said he went to Cuba, “a land rich in natural beauty, culture and faith” as a “Missionary of Mercy. … God’s mercy is greater than any affliction, any conflict, any ideology; and with this gaze of mercy I was able to embrace the entire Cuban population, at home and abroad, looking beyond any division. The symbol of this deep unity is Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, … Patroness of Cuba, … Mother of Hope … who guides us on the path of justice, peace, freedom and reconciliation. … I was able to share with the Cuban people the hope of fulfilling the prophecy of St. John Paul II: that Cuba will open up to the world, and the world will open up to Cuba. No more closure, no more exploitation of the poor, but instead freedom and dignity. It is the path that draws strength from the Christian roots of the people, who have suffered greatly.”

The Holy Father then spoke of the next leg of his trip, saying that travelling to the U.S. after Cuba, was “a symbolic step, a bridge that, thanks be to God, is being rebuilt. … God always wants to build bridges; we are the ones who build walls. But walls always fall down.”

In Washington D.C. note the Pope, he met not only with the political authorities, but also the clergy, the poor and the marginalised. The greatest wealth of the country and her people is her “spiritual and ethical heritage. And so, I wanted to encourage to continuation of social construction faithful to the United States’ fundamental principle, that all men are created by God, equal and endowed with inalienable rights, such as life, liberty an the pursuit of happiness. These values, that may be shared by all, find their fulfilment in the Gospel, as was clearly shown by the canonisation of the Franciscan Fr. Junipero Serra, the great evangelizer of California. St. Junipero shows us the way to joy: going forth and sharing Christ’s love with others. This is the way of Christians, but also of any person who has known love: not to keep it to oneself but to share it with others. The United States of America have grown on this religious and moral base, and on this base they can continue to be a land of freedom, welcome and cooperation for a more just and fraternal world”.

Speaking of his time in New York Francis mentioned his address to the General Assembly of the United Nations as this organization marks its 70th anniversary. The Pope renewed the Catholic Church’s commitment to support the U.N. and “its role in the promotion of development and peace, especially with regard to the need for joint and active commitment to care for creation.” He stressed his appeal “to stop and prevent violence against ethnic and religious minorities and against civil populations.”

And the Holy Father described how he had prayed at Ground Zero for peace and fraternity, accompanied by representatives of various religions and families of victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks, and later celebrated Mass for peace and justice in Madison Square Garden.

“In both Washington D.C. and New York I was able to meet various charitable and educational bodies, emblematic of the enormous service that the Catholic community – priests, man and women religious, and laypeople – offer in these fields.”

Pope Francis then travelled to the focus of his nine-day journey – the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, “where the horizon extends to all the world through the ‘prism’ of the family.”

He underscored that “the family is the answer to the great challenge of our world, which is a dual challenge: fragmentation and solidification, two extremes which co-exist, support each other and together support the consumerist economic model. The family is the answer as it is the cell of a society that balances the personal and community dimensions, and at the same time the model for a sustainable management of the goods and resources of creation. The family is the protagonist of an integral ecology, as it is the primary social subject which contains within itself the two basic principals of human civilisation on earth: the principles of communion and fruitfulness. Biblical humanism presents us with this icon: the human couple, united and fruitful, placed by God in the garden of the world to cultivate it and protect it”.

The Holy Father’s final words were for Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, saying his great love for the family was made manifest in the organization of the event. “It is not by chance, but rather providential that … the witness of the World Meeting of Families came at this moment from the United States of America – that is, the country that during the last century reached the highest level of economic and technological development without renouncing its religious roots. Now these same roots are asking to be replanted in the family, to rethink and change the model of development, for the good of the entire human family.”


PAPAL SPEECHES + MUSIC = NEW CD (Vatican Radio) – A new CD combining the speeches of Pope Francis with different styles of music will be released on 27 November. The album is called Wake Up!, and will bring together excerpts of speeches in different languages with music ranging from Gregorian chant to rock-n-roll. Rolling Stone magazine’s website premiered the first track “Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!”, which uses a speech Pope Francis gave in South Korea, and the album can currently be pre-ordered on iTunes. The Pope speaks in Italian, English, Spanish and Portuguese on the album, which has 11 tracks.


VATICAN HOSTS NEW DIGITAL LIBRARY (Vatican Radio) – At a press conference in the Vatican on Wednesday, a new online digital library was launched, offering access to over a thousand papal documents on communications from the first to the twenty-first century. The initiative, known as the Baragli Project, features papal teachings on communication, translated into different languages, and is geared especially to those working in Catholic education and training centers. The Project is named after Jesuit Father Enrico Baragli, who died in 2001 and was in the forefront of research into the way the Catholic Church has communicated its message over the centuries. It is being promoted by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, together with the Faculty of Social Communication at the Pontifical Salesian University, the Vatican Publishing House and website. The digital library features a “navigator” that helps explore available online sources. The archive will be continuously expanded to include new documents, as well as other material from individual Church leaders, from bishops conferences and from other Christian churches and communities. It offers a platform for reading and personal study, as well as an open environment for collaboration with other users. The beta version in Italian went live on September 30th and can be found at