Pope Francis spoke about religious freedom, government officials and gay marriage in response to a reporter's question. He also met county clerk and gay marriage dissenter Kim Davis during his trip to Washington, D.C. The following is a transcript of those remarks followed by a Vatican statement regarding his meeting with Kim Davis.
The Sept. 27 interview occurred during a Q&A with reporters on his flight home from the United States. The question came from ABC's Terry Moran.
The Vatican has clarified that despite the much-publicized private meeting between Pope Francis and Kentucky clerk Kim Davis last week in Washington, D.C., the meeting should not be equated to the pontiff giving his support for Davis' position on refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
"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," wrote Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, the head of the Holy See Press Office, in a statement released by the Vatican on Friday.
Lombardi added that Davis was only one of several dozen people the pope privately met during his week in the U.S., and it would be incorrect to read too much into the brief encounters. more >>
Pope Francis met with the victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy on the last day of his U.S. visit and vowed to hold accountable the people who committed and covered up the crimes.
On Sunday, Pope Francis listened to the stories of the children who survived sexual abuse at the hands of Roman Catholic clergy to wrap up his six-day stay at the U.S. The Argentine pope also held Mass outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art in front of more than a million people, according to Reuters.
The 78-year-old pontiff addressed the crowd in his native Spanish after his private meeting with the five sexual abuse survivors. He told the bishops in Philadelphia that the "suffering and pain" of the three women and two men abused by clergy bore a mark in his heart, the report details. more >>
Pope Francis made a powerful statement by meeting with gay marriage dissenter Kim Davis. But imagine how much more powerful it would have been had the meeting been public, rather than private.
Pope Francis has come and gone. His five-day sojourn in America started with a visit to Washington, D.C. (including speaking to a joint session of the U.S. Congress), continued in New York City (including a speech to the U.N. General Assembly) and concluded with a World Congress of Families in Philadelphia.
What should one make of this historic visit? The mass appeal generated by the pope's visit, symbolized by a million-person mass in Philadelphia, was extraordinary by any standard or measure. The pope is a head of state (Vatican City), thus a political figure, but primarily and overwhelmingly he is an overtly religious figure in that he is the titular head of the world communion of Roman Catholics. more >>
The state of Georgia has executed a woman despite last-minute pleas for mercy, including one from Roman Catholic Church leader Pope Francis. The woman reportedly sang the Christian anthem "Amazing Grace" as she was put to death via lethal injection, witnesses said.
NBC News reported that Kelly Renee Gissendaner, 47, was executed shortly after midnight on Wednesday. Gissendaner had been put on death row for the 1997 stabbing murder of her husband, Douglas Gissendaner, at the hands of her lover. She became the first woman executed by the state in 70 years.
Gregory Owen, who carried out the killing, is serving a life prison sentence, and is not eligible for parole until 2022. more >>
Mat Staver, attorney and founder of the Liberty Counsel, has claimed in an interview that Pope Francis met with and prayed with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis during his visit to Washington, D.C. last week. The Vatican has refused to confirm or deny that the meeting between the pontiff and the clerk took place.
Staver told CBS News on Tuesday night that the two briefly met on Thursday, Sept. 24, at the Vatican Embassy in Washington.
"Staver said Pope Francis spoke to Davis in English and asked her to pray for him. He said Davis, in return, asked the pope to pray for her. The pope told her to stay strong, according to her lawyer," CBS reported. more >>