Pope Francis held a private meeting
with a gay couple during his recent trip to the United States.
Yayo Grassi and Iwan Bagus have been
together more than 19 years.
Grassi told CNN that the visit, held at
the Vatican Embassy in D.C. on September 23, was arranged personally
with the pope via email.
“Three weeks before the trip, he
called me on the phone and said he would love to give me a hug,”
told the network.
Grassi, who studied under Pope Francis
in Argentina, said that the pontiff is aware of his sexuality.
“He has never been judgmental. He
has never said anything negative,” he said.
“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
The meeting took place the day before
the pope met Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who is fighting to prevent her
county office from issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian
couples. Davis, an Apostolic Christian, told ABC News that the pope
told her to “stay strong” and said that she felt validated “just
knowing that the pope is on track with what we're doing.”
But on Friday, the Vatican distanced
itself from Davis, saying that the meeting “should not be
considered a form of support for her position.”
Pope Francis' meeting with Kim Davis not a form of support.)