UPDATE: Rev. Manuel Dorantes, a spokesman for the Vatican, said to The Washington Post, “I do not deny that the meeting took place, but I have no comments to add.”
Vatican officials have yet to confirm or deny assertions from hate group leader Mat Staver that his client Kim Davis had a clandestine meeting with Pope Francis while the pontiff was in Washington, D.C. last week.
According to a statement released by Staver's anti-gay group Liberty Counsel, the pope met privately with Davis and her husband at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, September 24.
Staver's statement claims that during the alleged meeting, Pope Francis said, "Thank you for your courage." Staver also said that Pope Francis told Kim Davis, "stay strong" and held out his hands and asked Davis to pray for him. According to Staver, Davis held his hands and said, "I will. Please pray for me," and the Pope said he would.
No photographs of the alleged meeting between Davis and Pope Francis have been released to the public.
When reached for comment, Vatican chief spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said he would neither confirm nor deny the report and that there would be no further statement.
Reuters notes that the silence on this matter was unusual for the Vatican, which normally issues either denials or confirmations.
Staver told CBS that his team did not want to disclose the meeting until now to avoid interfering with the pope's broader message during his visit.
"Because we didn't want the pope's visit to be overshadowed with Kim Davis," Staver said.