Pope Francis met in private with an openly gay former student at the Vatican Embassy last week, CNN reports. The student, Yayo Grassi, has been in a committed same-sex relationship for 19 years and brought his partner with him for their private audience.
"Obviously [the Pope] is the pastor of the church and he has to follow the church's teachings," Grassi said. "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."
The revelation comes in stark contrast to the pope's brief recent meeting with the same-sex marriage opponent Kim Davis. The Vatican has since released a statement saying that, while the Pope was greeted by Davis, the meeting "should not be considered a form of support of her position."