Those who interpreted the Pope’s so-called “private meeting” with anti-gay Rowan County, KY., Clerk Kim Davis as an endorsement of her position on same-sex marriage — now refuted by the Vatican — may have something new to ponder on.
As mentioned here, Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi had stated “The only real audience granted by the pope at the Nunciature was with one of his former students and his family.”
Well, it now appears that this “real audience” was with Yayo Grassi, an openly gay man and his partner Iwan and several other friends, a day before the encounter with Davis.
While Grassi declined to disclose details about the short audience, he said that it was arranged personally by the Pope via e-mail in the weeks ahead of the Pope’s visit, according to CNN.
“Three weeks before the trip, he called me on the phone and said he would love to give me a hug,” Grassi said.
The meeting between Grassi and the Pope adds another intriguing twist to the strange aftermath of Francis’ first-ever trip to the United States. Since news broke on Tuesday of Francis’ meeting with Davis, conservatives have cheered the seemingly implicit endorsement, while liberals have questioned how much the Pope knew about her case.
Grassi said that Pope Francis taught him in literature and psychology classes at Inmaculada Concepcion high school in Sante Fe, Argentina, from 1964-1965.
Grassi said the Pope has long known that he is gay, but has never condemned his sexuality or his same-sex relationship. Grassi said he and Iwan (he declined to disclose his last name due to privacy concerns) had previously met Francis in Rome.
Also, according to CNN, a video of the meeting shows Grassi and Francis greeting each other with a warm hug and “at the end the meeting, the Pope hugs both men and kisses them on the cheek.”
CNN also reports:
Grassi said he believes the Pope was “misled” into meeting with Davis, who served six days in a Kentucky jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Davis’ lawyers had portrayed the papal meeting as an endorsement of her cause. After several days of questions and culture-war sparring, the Vatican said that was not the case.
Many were disappointed to hear about the Pope’s alleged private meeting with Kim Davis and about the Pope’s alleged support for her position on same-sex marriage but were somewhat conciliated when they heard the Vatican’s version.
It will be interesting to hear the reaction at this turn of events by those “critical” of gays and lesbians who warmly applauded the Pope for his meeting with and “endorsement” of Davis.
Video of Pope Francis’ meeting with Yayo Grassi, and his partner of 19 years, Iwan Bagus. Source: NBCNews.com
Lead photo: Pope Francis greeted by President Obama at Andrews AFB. (White House photo)
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.