Pope Francis did not know the details of Davis’ situation and did not offer conditional support to the defiant county clerk, the official said.
“Three weeks before the trip, he called me on the phone and said he would love to give me a hug”, Grassi told the broadcaster.
When news of the meeting broke after the Pope’s return to Rome, it had the appearance of having been furtive and contrasted with Francis’ open and transparent style.
However, Davis’ lawyer, Mat Staver, told The Associated Press that the Vatican initiated the meeting as an affirmation of her right to be conscientious objector.
Rosica said the Vatican was unsure who the meeting was organized by, and that it might have been an initiative by the Vatican’s ambassador to the USA, Archbishop Carlo Vigano.
In a statement, Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi said Francis met with “several dozen” people at the Vatican’s embassy in Washington just before leaving for New York.
Pope Francis and Mr Grassi have kept in touch via email over the years since he had the pope as a psychology and Argentine literature teacher at Inmaculada Concepcion high school in Flores, Argentina in 1964 and 1965. ‘Stay strong, ‘ he said to me.
“I think the meeting was incredibly important, especially for Kim Davis, who never thought she’d do that in her life – meet the pope”, Staver said.
The latest twist in this saga – and Francis’ friendship with Grassi – may renew hope for LGBT Catholics.
“We have been friends for a long time”.
“He has never been judgemental”, Grassi said. But he did end his historic speech to Congress in Washington – delivered on the same day he met with Davis – with a note on families, which he said are being “threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without”.
“Obviously he is the pastor of the church and he has to follow the church’s teachings”. Very brief greetings and in the pope’s characteristic kindness and his warmth and hospitality, he shook peoples’ hands and gave them rosaries.
“Pope Francis then thanked Kim for her “courage”.” the statement added.
The Vatican is seeking to distance Pope Francis from Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis after his visit with her last week in the United States. Many advocates of same-sex marriage were upset by news of the meeting. He kissed and hugged both Grassi and his partner. Grassi brought his partner, Iwan Bagus, to a private meeting at the Papal Nunciature in Washington, DC on September 23. At one point, the future pontiff suggested that same-sex marriage is the work of the devil. “And to hear this from you is so disappointing”, Grassi wrote, according to National Geographic.
“I don’t think anyone was willfully trying to trick the Pope”, he said, but clarified that the Pope had not been fully briefed on her situation or the impact such a meeting would have.