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Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis, who was jailed in early September for refusing to sign the marriage licenses of homosexual couples, met secretly with Pope Francis at his request in Washington D.C.

The stunning clandestine meeting was first revealed by Robert Moynihan, editor of Inside the Vatican. “It was, arguably, the most significant meeting, symbolically, of the entire trip,” Moynihan noted. “It should, therefore, be brought to the attention of the public, both in the Church, and in the secular world.”

Vatican officials recognized the meeting might spark controversy or risk politicizing a pastoral trip, and that is why it was kept secret, according to Moynihan.

But Francis also had a desire to meet with a person who has taken a controversial stand due to her conscience — even at the risk of jail – and vilification by a broad swath of the political landscape.

On Thursday afternoon, September 24, following his historic address to Congress, Davis and her husband, Joe, were sneaked into the Vatican Embassy by car.

When Pope Francis entered the room, Davis greeted him and the two embraced, according to Moynihan.

“The Pope spoke in English,” she told Moynihan. “There was no interpreter.

“Thank you for your courage,” Pope Francis said to her.

“Thank you, Holy Father,” she replied.

“I hugged him, and he hugged me back,” she told Moynihan. “It was an extraordinary moment.”

“Stay strong,” the Pontiff told her. He gave Davis a rosary as a gift.