Vat­i­can con­firms pope met with gay stu­dent

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY NI­COLE WIN­FIELD

The Vat­i­can is con­firm­ing that the only “au­di­ence” the pope had while he was in Washington was with a for­mer stu­dent and his fam­ily: Yayo Grassi, an openly gay Ar­gen­tine who vis­ited Fran­cis with his long­time part­ner and some friends.

The rev­e­la­tion Fri­day turned the ta­ble on the nar­ra­tive of Fran­cis’ meet­ing with Kim Davis, the U.S. county clerk who went to jail af­ter re­fus­ing to is­sue same-sex mar­riage li­censes.

The Vat­i­can on Fri­day dis­tanced Fran­cis from Davis, say­ing his en­counter with her was by no means an endorsement of her cause. In the same state­ment, the Vat­i­can said the only real au­di­ence the pope had was with a for­mer stu­dent.

A Vat­i­can as­sis­tant spokesman, the Rev. Thomas Rosica, con­firmed the stu­dent was Grassi. A video posted online shows Grassi em­brac­ing the pope and in­tro­duc­ing him to his part­ner, as well as an Ar­gen­tine woman and some Asian friends.

The Vat­i­can on Fri­day dis­tanced Pope Fran­cis from Kim Davis, the fo­cal point in the gay mar­riage de­bate in the U.S., say­ing she was one of dozens of peo­ple the pope greeted as he left Washington and that their en­counter “should not be con­sid­ered a form of sup­port of her po­si­tion.”

Af­ter days of con­fu­sion, the Vat­i­can is­sued a state­ment Fri­day with its ver­sion of Fran­cis’ Sept. 24 en­counter with Davis, a Ken­tucky county clerk who was jailed for re- fus­ing to is­sue same-sex mar­riage li­censes.

The Vat­i­can spokesman, the Rev. Fed­erico Lom­bardi, said Fran­cis met with “sev­eral dozen” peo­ple at the Vat­i­can’s em­bassy in Washington just be­fore leav­ing for New York.

Lom­bardi said such meet­ings are nor­mal on any Vat­i­can trip and are due to the pope’s “kind­ness and avail­abil­ity.” He said Fran­cis re­ally had only one “au­di­ence” in Washington: 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,” Lom­bardi said.

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