Pope Francis personally asked to meet with a gay friend from Argentina who he has known for almost fifty years. This meeting was planned by the Pope, unlike the one where he was set up to meet with Kim Davis as part of a mass group of people.

The pope’s friend is Yayo Grassi, and he and his partner, Iwan Bagus, met with Pope Francis at the Vatican Embassy on September 23 along with their friends. Reports indicate that Pope Francis greeted them with a hug.

“Three weeks before the trip, he called me on the phone and said he would love to give me a hug,” Grassi told CNN.

The meeting between Pope Francis and Grassi was reportedly arranged personally by Francis.

Vatican spokesman Reverend Federico Lombardi issued a statement that Grassi has met with the pope in the past.

“As noted in the past, the Pope, as pastor, has maintained many personal relationships with people in a spirit of kindness, welcome and dialogue,” said Lombardi.

“He has never been judgmental,” said Grassi. “He has never said anything negative.”

“Obviously he is the pastor of the church and he has to follow the church’s teachings,” said Grassi. “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.”

For more on this, read the article from CNN titled: “CNN Exclusive: Pope held private meeting with same-sex couple in U.S.