VATICAN CITY — Ever since it became public that Pope Francis met in Washington with Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples, the questions have been swirling: Why did he meet with her, and was it meant as a political statement?
As it turns out, the Vatican said on Friday, the pope did not mean to endorse Ms. Davis’s views. It also said he gave her no more than a typical brief greeting, despite what her lawyer described.
Instead, the Vatican said that Francis gave only one “real audience”: to someone later identified as one of his former students, Yayo Grassi, a gay man in Washington who says he brought his partner of 19 years to the Vatican’s embassy in Washington for a reunion. They even shot video.
The disclosure, after the Vatican’s unusual attempt to correct the impressions left by Francis’ meeting with Ms. Davis, added to days of speculation about whether Francis intended to send a message on the place of gays in the church, or conscientious objection, and whether his advisers had fully briefed him on Ms. Davis, or had their own agenda.

Multimedia Feature | Francis in America News and features on Pope Francis’ visit to Washington, New York and Philadelphia in September.

The Vatican spokesman emphasized that the meeting with Ms. Davis was arranged by the office of the Vatican’s ambassador in Washington, not by anyone in Rome — including the pope.
“The pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis, and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects,” the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said in a statement released Friday morning.
On the other hand, Mr. Grassi, a 67-year-old caterer, told The New York Times that he and the pontiff have known each other since the 1960s, when Jorge Mario Bergoglio, as the future pope was then called, taught him literature and psychology at the Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepción, a Jesuit high school in Santa Fe, Argentina.
Mr. Grassi said that he had resumed contact with the future pope years later, when he was the archbishop of Buenos Aires. He also visited the pope at the Vatican in September 2013, …Read More