(CBS) – It seemed potentially telling: the meeting between Pope Francis and Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who went to jail rather than grant same-sex marriage licenses.
CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez says there is more to the story.
CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reported earlier this week the pontiff may have been blindsided by a meeting with same-sex marriage opponent Davis. Sources suggested the pope had nothing to do with arranging the meeting, that it was really the work of the Nuncio, also known as the papal ambassador to the U.S.
Friday, the Vatican confirmed that.
“The Nunzio invited a number of guests, his own choice, to greet the Pope. Very brief greetings and in the pope’s characteristic kindness and his warmth and hospitality, he shook peoples’ hands and gave them rosaries. We should understand it as that,” Father Thomas Rosica, Vatican spokesman, said.
He added: “In terms of why this person was invited, you have to ask those questions of the Nunciature.”
Father Federico Lombardi, of the Press Office of the Holy See, said the “only real audience” the pope granted in Washington was with one of his former students and his family.
That student was Yayo Grassi, who was joined by his same-sex partner of 19 years, Iwan Bagus.
Lombardi says Grassi has met with the Pope before, and that the two maintain a personal relationship.
The Pope’s meeting with Davis should not be considered a form of support of her position, the Vatican spokesman said.
Grassi tells CNN that the pope has long known his former student is gay but has never condemned his sexuality or his same-sex relationship.
Kim Davis’s lawyer also confirms it was the papal nuncio who invited Davis to meet the pope.