Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. has created quite the media fanfare these past weeks, and while speaking with reporters during his trip home to the Vatican this Monday, the Pontiff touched on another viral media story concerning Kentucky clerk Kim Davis.
Davis spent five days in a county jail because of her refusal to break with her Christian faith and provide marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Apparently rebuking the criticism Davis has received from social media and the press, Pope Francis appeared to come to her defense while speaking to reporters.
“Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right,” Francis told reporters, according to Reuters. “I can’t have in mind all cases that can exist about conscientious objection but, yes, I can say that conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right.”
Francis added that conscientious objection had to be respected in the legal system, “otherwise we would end up in a situation where we select what is a right, saying: ‘This right has merit, this one does not.'”
The Pope then turned to the subject of sexual abuse, specifically by members of the Catholic clergy, clarifying that the phenomenon is not confined to the Church but it was worse when committed by people parishioners trust.
“We know abuses are everywhere, in families, in the neighborhoods, in the schools, in the gyms, but when a priest abuses it is very grave because the vocation of the priest is to make that boy, that girl grow toward the love of God, toward maturity,” he said.
“But instead [the victim] is crushed by evil and this is nearly a sacrilege because the priest has betrayed his vocation, the calling of the Lord.”
Many in the liberal media have praised Francis for his periodic progressive breaks from his Church’s traditions. But it’s easily forgotten that he’s a Catholic first and foremost – for better or for worse.
Featured image via Flickr [The title of this post has been updated to more accurately reflect the story]