Pope Met With Same-Sex Couple During U.S. Visit

It looks like Pope Francis met with a same sex couple during his historic U.S. visit. The news, reported by CNN, comes as a bit of a balm to shell-shocked LGBT rights supporters this week. On Tuesday, news broke that the Pope met with Kim Davis, the notorious clerk refusing to sign same-sex marriage certificates in Rowan County. Today, social progressives who had lost a lot of love for the Pope over the Davis meeting may be re-thinking their angst in the wake of CNN’s exclusive report.

While Davis was quick to hone in on some of the papal spotlight, today’s news indicates that by the time she’d secretly met with the Pope, a same-sex couple had already beaten her to the punch. Indeed, Pope Francis reportedly met with his long-time friend, Yayo Grassi, who is openly gay, the day before he prayed with Davis. Grassi told CNN that he, his long-time partner and several of their friends met with the Pope at the Vatican Embassy on September 23, a full day before the Pope spent 15 minutes with Davis. CNN also contends that there is a video of the meeting, which shows the Pope and Grassi, also from Argentina, warmly hugging one another upon being reunited.

“Three weeks before the trip, he called me on the phone and said he would love to give me a hug.”

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 23: The Pope celebrates the canonization Mass for Junipero Serra the same day he met with same-sex couple. WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 23: The Pope celebrates the canonization Mass for Junipero Serra the same day he met with same-sex couple. [Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images]News that the Pope met with his openly gay, longtime friend seems to fly in the face of the idea that his reported meeting with Kim Davis was an indication of his contempt of gay people or a slap in the face of gay rights. Indeed, while Davis’ lawyer indicated that her private meeting with the Pope was organized by Vatican officials and not U.S. bishops or himself, that’s not usually how it goes down. Protocol for private meetings is that they’re requested by whoever wants to meet with the Pope. Unless, of course, you’re a good friend.

Which Grassi apparently is.

Although the Vatican has been fairly tight-lipped about whether or not the Pope met with Davis, spokesmen for the Holy City did come out and say that if the Pope had met with the controversial clerk, it was not to show support for her cause. The spokesman went on to state, “the only real audience granted by the Pope at the nunciature (embassy) was with one of his former students and his family.”

Grassi told CNN that the Vatican was referring to himself and his family members. The Pope instructed Grassi from 1964-1965. He taught both literature and psychology in classes that took place at Inmaculada Concepcion high school in Sante Fe, Argentina.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - SEPTEMBER 23: Pope Francis arrives for Midday Prayer the same day he met with same-sex couple. [Photo: Jonathan Newton-Pool/Getty Images] WASHINGTON, D.C. – SEPTEMBER 23: Pope Francis arrives for Midday Prayer the same day he met with same-sex couple. [Photo: Jonathan Newton-Pool/Getty Images]In another one-up to Davis, Grassi said he’d also previously met with the Pope in Rome. Grassi went on to say that the Pope, who he most recently met with last week, has known of his sexual orientation for a very long time, and has never judged him for it.

“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.”

The Pope, who famously asked, “Who am I to judge?” when it comes to gay priests seeking to do God’s will in 2013 has been very ambiguous on gay rights. He has seemingly supported the rights of LGBT individuals in the secular world. He met with his gay friend Grassi last week; he met with a Spanish transgender man in January, according to CNN. He also met with Davis, who’s notoriously opposed to same-sex marriage and (prior to becoming Pope) publicly suggested same sex marriage is the work of the devil.

The Pope has also dealt with resistance from the Vatican’s own bureaucracy. The Holy City refuses to recognize the openly gay French ambassador, Laurent Stefanini.

Despite a seemingly back-and-forth response to the LGBT community, Pope Francis is one of the most progressive Popes the world has ever seen. He doesn’t seem to support same-sex marriage, but he doesn’t seem to support homophobia, either. He’s come out publicly to state that the practice doesn’t belong within the Catholic Church. While some people see his views as paradoxical, others see them as baby steps from an organization that has a history of being one of the most intolerant in the world to homosexuals.

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. His beliefs seem possible, given the behavior of Davis’ lawyers. When they came out with their highly-publicized announcement that Davis met with the Pope during his U.S. trip, they played it up as a papal endorsement of her case.

The Vatican had a different story Friday morning, following several days of controversy and questioning.

“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.”

For a few days, the defining moment of the Pope’s U.S. trip became his meeting with Kim Davis. Only time will tell if it will now be defined by the fact that the Pope also met with a same-sex couple.

[Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images]