The leader of the world's Catholics found time during his US visit to meet a Protestant county clerk from Kentucky. “I was crying. I had tears coming out of my eyes,” Kim Davis tells ABC News of her meeting with Pope Francis on Thursday in Washington. “I'm just a nobody, so it was really humbling to think he would want to meet or know me." Davis, who has refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, says the meeting came after she received a phone call from a church official. The pope told her to "stay strong," and asked her to pray for him, according to a press release from her attorney. Francis gave her and her husband rosaries, which Davis gave to her Catholic parents. "I put my hand out and he reached and he grabbed it, and I hugged him and he hugged me," Davis tells ABC. "And he said, 'thank you for your courage.'"
Davis' lawyer tells the New York Times—which notes that Davis was in DC anyway to receive an award from the conservative Family Research Council—that the meeting lasted around 15 minutes. He says the meeting was arranged by Vatican officials who had heard about Davis' stand against same-sex marriage, and it was kept quiet until now because "we didn't want the pope's visit to be focused on Kim Davis." The Vatican says it will neither confirm nor deny the meeting. On his flight back to Italy on Monday, Francis was asked about the Davis case and said "conscientious objection" is a human right that should be extended to government workers. The lawyer says officials have photos and will release them soon, CBS News reports. (A family from Argentina drove 13,000 miles to meet Francis.)