Pope Francis Met Privately With Gay Couple During U.S. Visit, Kim Davis’ Vatican Embassy Photos Released

A gay couple who has been together for 19-years had a private meeting with Pope Francis during his historic visit to the U.S. last month, CNN reports.

Yayo Grassi and his partner, Iwan, to the Vatican Embassy on September 23 for a brief visit with the Pope.

A video shared by TV Canal 9, shows Yayo Grassi and his partner, Iwan, briefly meeting with the the Pope at the Vatican Embassy on September 23. Grassi can be seen embracing Francis with a warm hug. The couple was also joined by several of their friends.

CNN adds:

In an exclusive interview with CNN, Grassi declined to disclose details about the short visit, but said it was arranged personally by the Pope via email in the weeks ahead of Francis’ highly anticipated visit to the United States. “Three weeks before the trip, he called me on the phone and said he would love to give me a hug,” Grassi said.

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) also met Francis last year in Rome. “He has never been judgmental,” Grassi said. “He has never said anything negative.”

“Obviously he is the pastor of the church and he has to follow the church’s teachings,” Grassi added. “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.”

Here’s a video of the meeting via TV Canal 9:

A Vatican statement released this morning claims Pope Francis did not request a meeting with Kim Davis, nor did he offer her unconditional support:

The brief meeting between Mrs. Kim Davis and Pope Francis at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, DC has continued to provoke comments and discussion. In order to contribute to an objective understanding of what transpired I am able to clarify the following points:

Pope Francis met with several dozen persons who had been invited by the Nunciature to greet him as he prepared to leave Washington for New York City. Such brief greetings occur on all papal visits and are due to the Pope’s characteristic kindness and availability. The only real audience granted by the Pope at the Nunciature was with one of his former students and his family.

The Pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects.

Kim Davis’s attorneys at the Liberty Counsel pushed back against the Vatican’s statement, writing:

Despite a statement this morning by a Vatican official, the Pope’s own words about conscientious objection being a human right and his private meeting with Kim Davis indicate support for the universal right of conscientious objection, even for government officials. The meeting with Kim Davis was initiated by the Vatican, and the private meeting occurred at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, September 24. This meeting was a private meeting without any other members of the public present.

The Liberty Counsel shared several photos on twitter allegedly showing Davis and her husband waiting in the Vatican Embassy waiting room:

h/t: towleroad