Vatican confirms pope met with gay student
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.