While in Washington D.C. last month, Pope Francis took time to visit a former student, who is openly gay, as well as his partner. The meeting came just one day before the pope met with Kim Davis, the Kentucky County Clerk who made national headlines for refusing to issue marriage licenses because of her opposition to the Supreme Court’s legalization of same sex marriage. Since the encounter between Davis and the pope, the Vatican has said, “his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects.”

The meeting with Yayo Grassi and his partner Iwan Bagus appears to have been planned for some time. Grassi told CNN, "Three weeks before the trip, he called me on the phone and said he would love to give me a hug.” Grassi, 67, was a student at a Catholic school where the pope served as a teacher in the ‘60s. According to CNN, he is also an atheist, but has maintained a close relationship with his old teacher for decades. A Vatican spokesman confirmed the meeting, saying, ”As noted in the past, the Pope, as pastor, has maintained many personal relationships with people in a spirit of kindness, welcome and dialogue.” Grassi told the cable news outlet, "Obviously he is the pastor of the church and he has to follow the church's teachings. 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.” Discuss

The Vatican has released a statement attempting to clarify some of the details behind Pope Francis’ meeting with Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis during his recent U.S. visit. Davis rose to national attention when she was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses because of her opposition to the Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. Though she was release, she has since been accused of altering licenses issued by her deputies.

A Church spokesman said that Pope Francis met with “several dozen” people while at the Vatican’s embassy and Washington, adding, “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.” Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich told CBS News, “Meeting with someone is not an endorsement of that person’s position.” Davis’ lawyers seem to contradict other reports that the pope was surprised and even “exploited” by the meeting, claiming it was arranged by the Vatican weeks ago. Discuss

A Vatican official confirmed to NPR that Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis—who became the subject of national controversy after refusing to issue marriage licenses following the legalization of same-sex marriage—met with Pope Francis in Washington D.C.

The Catholic Church spokesperson said, “I do not deny the meeting took place but I have no comments to add.” Davis told ABC News, "Just knowing the pope is on track with what we're doing, and agreeing, you know, kind of validates everything.” According to the magazine Inside the Vatican, Pope Francis hugged Davis and told her to “Stay strong.” Davis spent several days in jail and was found in contempt of court after refusing to issue marriage licenses because of her personal objection to same-sex marriage. She has since been accused of altering marriage licenses issued by her office’s deputies. Discuss

The High Five (Sept. 25)

A handful of good news stories to brighten your weekend. Read More

It’s the Onion’s world, and we’re just living in it, apparently. Today, amid a historic U.S. tour, where he’s been hanging out with the poor, and connecting with unbelievers, Pope Francis notched up his cool factor even further by announcing he’s releasing an album. Of actual music.

If you heard a record scratch to a halt upon reading that, rest assured you’re not alone.

But this is no drill. The Vatican approved LP features cuts from the Pontiff’s most moving speeches in several languages and what the press release calls “uplifting musical accompaniment ranging from pop-rock to Gregorian chant.”

Curious? (And why wouldn’t you be?) Check out his lead single “Wake Up! Go Forward!” over at Rolling Stone. We’ll be blessed with the full album on Nov. 27 via Believe Digital. Discuss

Twitter is welcoming Pope Francis to the United States the only way it knows how: By releasing a few custom emojis. The social media platform released four new icons for the pontiff’s visit to three American cities. For Twitter users interested in the latest update about his big stateside tour, they’ve even created a custom list of of Tweets, appropriately called, “PopeInUS”. Discuss