CNN reports that Pope Francis held a private meeting in Washington DC with a longtime Argentinean friend who’s been in a same-sex relationship for 19 years.
The meeting took place the day before he met anti-gay county clerk Kim Davis.
Yayo Grassi, his partner Iwan, and several of their friends visited the Vatican Embassy on September 23, and a video of the meetup shows Pope Francis warmly hugging Yayo.
“Three weeks before the trip, he called me on the phone and said he would love to give me a hug,” said Grassi, who declined to give out any details about the short visit.
He did mention that the Pope was personally arranged by the Pope via email.
The Vatican released a statement on Friady that insisted Francis’ meeting with Davis was in no way intended as a show of support for her cause and said “the only real audience granted by the Pope at the nunciature (embassy) was with one of his former students and family.”
“That was me,” Grassi said.
He was a student of Pope Francis’s from 1964-1965 at Inmaculad Concepcion, and says the Pope has known he was gay for a long time and has never said a harsh word about his sexuality or his same-sex relationship.
“He has never been judgmental,” said Grassi. “He has never said anything negative. Obviously he is the pastor of the church and he has to follow the church’s teachings. But as a human being he understands all kinds of situations, and he is open to all kinds of people, including those with different sexual characteristics.”