Pope Francis met with a former student his, who was openly gay, before he met with Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis during his trip to Washington, D.C., the Vatican confirmed Friday.
The Vatican announced the meeting on Friday after issued an earlier statement distancing Pope Francis from Kim Davis’ actions and position on same-sex marriage.
Yayo Grassi was a student of the pope when he was Jose Mario Bergoglio and teaching at a Jesuit High School, Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepción, in Argentina. The statement about Davis mentioned an audience the Pope had with a student; later on Friday, Vatican assistant spokesman Rev. Thomas Rosica confirmed the student was Grassi.
Grassi, a caterer in D.C., had a private audience with the Pope at the Vatican Embassy on Sept. 23 with a group of people including his partner of 19 years, Iwan Bagus.
“I don’t think he was trying to say anything in particular,” Grassi told the Times. “He was just meeting with his ex-student and a very close friend of his.” The Times reports that Bagus posted a video of the meeting to Facebook.
A video posted to YouTube appeared to show the Pope embracing and conversing with Grassi in Spanish, before Grassi introduced him to the others present, according to the AP.
In the early Friday Vatican statement, Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi explained that Francis’ meeting with Davis, which occurred after his meeting with Grassi, “should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects.”