Post submitted by Maureen McCarty, former HRC Deputy Director of Marketing

This afternoon, CNN reported that Pope Francis met with longtime friend and student, Yayo Grassi, an openly gay man, and his partner of 19 years, Iwan, at the Vatican Embassy in the U.S. on September 23. 

The visit was arranged via email three weeks before the Pope’s trip to the U.S., according to CNN. 

"Obviously he is the pastor of the church and he has to follow the church's teachings," Grassi told CNN. "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."

Earlier this week, HRC urged the Church to embrace LGBT Catholics, following news of the Pope speaking with Kim Davis, the Rowan County, Ky., public official who continues to violate the law by openly discriminating against same-sex couples seeking to marry in the community they call home.

“It is heartening news that Pope Francis met privately with his friend and former student, Yayo Grassi, and his partner of 19 years, Iwan," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "It now not only appears that the Pope’s encounter with Kim Davis has been mischaracterized, but that Pope Francis embraced these longtime friends.”

HRC invited Pope Francis to meet with LGBT Catholics during his recent visit to Washington, D.C.  The Pope, who participated in a prayer service across the street from the organization’s headquarters last Wednesday, was asked to join more than 100 LGBT Catholics and staff who gathered to welcome him to the city.  HRC also hung a banner on the side of its building asking Pope Francis to embrace LGBT Catholics and put a stop to Archdioceses and Bishops in the United States that have fired capable, faithful LGBT employees. The banner read: "We Are Your Children, Your Teachers, Your Faithful. Welcomed by God. Dismissed By Our Bishops. Pope Francis, Will You Welcome Us Home?"

Filed under: Religion & Faith

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