Pope Francis' visit to the U.S. dominated the news cycle in the days leading up to it, and even more so in the days he was actually here. Everyone he met with, everything he said, every hand wave, and beyond were dissected endlessly, perhaps most of all his alleged private visit with Kim Davis, the infamous anti-gay county clerk who refuses to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. So it's not surprising that more wrinkles to the narrative keep getting added in the days since he's left — the latest being that Pope Francis also met with a same-sex couple privately.
CNN's report explains that the day before he met with Davis in Washington last week, the Pope held a private meeting with Yayo Grassi, a longtime Argentinian friend who has been in a same-sex relationship for 19 years. Grassi, an openly gay man, brought his partner Iwan to the meeting at the Vatican embassy, greeting the Pope with a warm hug.
Grassi wouldn't say much about the details of the visit, but did tell CNN, "Three weeks before the trip, [Pope Francis] called me on the phone and said he would love to give me a hug."
Given that liberals were angry and conservatives happy over the political implications of the Pope's visit with Davis, which seemed to suggest he endorsed her position on same-sex marriage despite his comments to the contrary, the meeting with Grassi adds a new perspective to his time in the U.S.
While Pope Francis and Grassi haven't always agreed on same-sex rights, Grassi said the Pope has known for years he is gay, but never condemned that fact. "He has never been judgmental," Grassi said. "He has never said anything negative."
Regardless of what actually happened in these respective meetings, and the likely reality that little on same-sex rights will be publicly admitted by the Pope or the Vatican with respect to them, the Pope's approval in the U.S. is very high. Overall, it's difficult to deny that the man is much more progressive than centuries of Popes before him.
Cover image: Wikimedia