The new twist in the controversial meeting Sept. 24 with Davis came to light after Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi released a statement Friday saying the “only real audience granted by the pope” at the Vatican Embassy in Washington “was with one of his former students and his family.”
Yayo Grassi, an openly gay man from Francis’ native Argentina and longtime friend of the pontiff, was that former student, Lombardi confirmed later Friday. Grassi, who has been in a same-sex relationship for 19 years, brought his partner and several friends to the Vatican Embassy in Washington for a brief visit.
Grassi told CNN that Francis has long known he is gay but never condemned his sexuality or relationship. Grassi said he and his partner had previously met with the pope in Rome. “He has never been judgmental,” Grassi told CNN. “He has never said anything negative.”
Lombardi confirmed Grassi had previously met with the pope. “As noted in the past, the pope, as pastor, has maintained many personal relationships with people in a spirit of kindness, welcome and dialogue,” Lombardi said in a statement. (Read more from “Here’s Who Pope Francis Met With in Addition to Kim Davis” HERE)