"As noted in the past, the Pope, as pastor,
has maintained many personal relationships with people
in a spirit of kindness, welcome and dialogue," - Fr.Lombardi.
Pope Francis met with his former student, Yayo Grassi, and his friend last week. Grassi and friend had met the Pope in Rome as well. The Pope invited Grassi to come for a visit during his papal trip to the United States. The former student-friend of the Pope suffers from same sex attraction and has lived for 19 years with the same-sex-attracted friend who accompanied him to meet the Pope at the Vatican embassy in Washington.
Catholic and non-Catholic journalists and bloggers, along with secular news sites have been writing articles claiming that the Pope met with a 'gay couple'. We know that's impossible because people are not gay and two men do not a couple make. What?
Yayo Grassi, an openly gay man, brought his partner, Iwan Bagus, as well several other friends to the Vatican Embassy on September 23 for a brief visit with the Pope. A video of the meeting shows Grassi and Francis greeting each other with a warm hug.
In an exclusive interview with CNN, Grassi said the visit was arranged personally with the Pope via email in the weeks ahead of Francis' highly anticipated visit to the United States.
"Three weeks before the trip, he called me on the phone and said he would love to give me a hug," Grassi said. - CNN
He met with them?!
Post script: Seriously, this is an interesting story which more or less supports a decision I made several weeks ago. I have a little bit of a reputation - pretty much because of this blog - although I'm not a notorious public sinner, some people use the 'G' word about me.
Anyway - a member of the clergy I've known since college days, was recently, unjustly, and falsely accused of a single, unsubstantiated act. I called him, offered my support in prayer and he suggested we meet for lunch, since he had the time. I declined because I didn't think it would be appropriate for him to be seen with me, during the investigation, fearing people might talk. (Like the Pope, my friend is straight.) Unfortunately, my friend couldn't understand that - because he knows I live a chaste, celibate life in accord with Catholic teaching, etc., etc. Nevertheless I declined his invitation.
I haven't talked to him since he was cleared of all suspicion and charges. I maybe lost a friend? Just disinterested?
What I'm saying is that though I may be overly discreet and overly cautious and deeply disinterested - despite the fact the Pope certainly wasn't embarrassed to welcome his friend and companion to meet and greet and be photographed with him in Washington - I know how people talk. I actually made a similar mistake myself once - or twice - maybe more than that.
I have to mind my own business.
Snap out of it!
Song for this post here.