From Reuters:

Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis speaks during an interview on Fox News Channel’s ‘The Kelly File’ in New York September 23, 2015. Reuters/Brendan McDermid

Pope Francis secretly met a Kentucky county clerk last week who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples and gave her words of encouragement, her attorney said.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis and her husband met with the pope during the Washington leg of his visit to the United States, after the Vatican reached out to her several weeks ago, ABC reported on Wednesday.

“It was really very humbling to even think that he would want to, you know, meet me or know me,” Davis told ABC. “I put my hand out, and he grabbed it, and I hugged him, and he hugged me and he said, ‘Thank you for your courage.’”

“He told me before he left, he said, ‘Stay strong.’ That was a great encouragement,” Davis said.

Davis said knowing that the pope agreed with what she was doing “kind of validates everything.”

ABC said the pope gave Davis a rosary, which she plans to give to her Catholic parents.

Mat Staver, attorney and founder of the Liberty Counsel, told CBS News that the pope met Davis and her husband at the Vatican embassy in Washington last Thursday.

Vatican chief spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said he would neither confirm nor deny the report and that there would be no further statement. This was unusual for…

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