Pope ‘hugged a gay friend’ the day before he secretly met with Kim Davis
As the Vatican rushes to downplay the Pope’s meeting with anti-gay clerk Kim Davis, it has emerged he hugged a gay friend the day before.
The Catholic Church admitted earlier this week that the Pope had a private meeting with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis during his US tour last month, which was kept off his official itinerary.
Davis, the clerk for Rowan County Kentucky, has been married four times, but claims God doesn’t want gays to marry – and was briefly jailed for contempt of court after ignoring direct orders from courts to stop blocking gay weddings.
Yayo Grassi, who studied under the Pope when he was a university lecturer in the 1980s, told CNN he brought his partner Iwan to meet the Pope at the Vatican embassy, on the personal invitation of the Pontiff.
Grassi told the news outlet that the Pope has long known he is gay, adding: “He has never been judgmental. He has never said anything negative.”
“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.”
A video shows that the Catholic leader greeted Grassi with a warm embrace.
Earlier today, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi claimed of the controversial Davis meeting: “[The meeting] should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects.
“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.”
He continued to claim: “Pope Francis met with several dozen persons who had been invited by the Nunciature to greet him as he prepared to leave Washington for New York City.
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“Such brief greetings occur on all papal visits and are due to the Pope’s characteristic kindness and availability.”
The claim is surprising, as the Pontiff also appeared to back Davis while speaking to reporters on his flight home, when asked about her case and other Christian ‘martyrs’.
He said: “Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right.
“I can’t have in mind all cases that can exist about conscientious objection but, yes, I can say that conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right.”
Despite an early ‘who am I to judge’ PR blitz attempting to bolster his image, the Pope is yet to lift any of the actively homophobic and transphobic policies of his predecessors.
Proposals to ‘reach out’ to gay people were scrapped by the Church last year – and despite suggestions that the plans would return at a 2015 Synod, it soon became clear the Church has no plans to discuss the matter again.
The Pope has also increasingly rallied against same-sex marriage, inviting representatives from listed hate groups to a ‘traditional marriage’ conference, urging Slovakians to vote against equal marriage, which he claims “disfigures God’s creation”.