Pope Francis is back in Rome at the Vatican on this Monday after his history-making trip to the United States. Speaking to reporters on his flight back home, the Pope said government officials have a right to refuse to carry out job duties such as issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples if they believe it goes against their conscience. His remarks are timely in light of the recent case of a Kentucky county clerk jailed nearly a week for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
After a judge put her behind bars, Kim Davis was released under the condition that she not interfere with her office’s issuing of those licenses–a condition that some employees of her office accuse her of skirting.
Also during the flight heading home, the Pontiff also stressed, again, his condemnation of priests who sexually abused children. Before leaving Philadelphia on Sunday, Francis spoke at a farewell ceremony, saying his heart was full of “gratitude and hope.” The Pope celebrated an open-air Mass for hundreds of thousands of people gathered along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Though a group from Brebeuf Jesuit High School traveled to the ‘City of Brotherly Love’ and waited for hours to get in, media reports say they did not get in.
Before departing, Francis called on people to recognize the importance of little gestures of tenderness and compassion. He ended his time in the states by saying simply, “may God bless you all, God bless America.” In addition to Philly, the Pope visited New York City where he addressed a the Assembly of the United Nations and Washington, DC where he made a historic speech to a joint session of the U.S. Congress.
The Pontiff also tweeted his thanks…
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