Dear America: Stop reading between the lines

Dear America:

I urge we stop reading between the lines about the Pope’s private visits. A week after his trip to the United States, we are hung up on who the Pope spent time with in his down time instead of reflecting on his message for a better world to breathe in, love in and prosper in.

The media’s conflation of Pope Francis and Kim Davis’ meeting with religion, same-sex marriage and politics de-railed the leader’s messages for universal acceptance and a life by the “golden rule.” They scavenged for and speculated in their coverage of the meet-up with Davis and unfortunately, public audiences absorbed the sensationalism.

Recently, the New York Times reported on another private visit Pope Francis had during his stay in Washington, DC. This visit lends balance to the sensationalized meeting.

Iwan Bagus is a photo professor at American University, who largely influenced my journalistic career path to include photography. He is also the partner of Yayo Grassi, a former student of Pope Francis when he taught philosophy and literature in Argentina. Together, as a gay couple of 19 years, Grassi and Bagus met with Pope Francis at the Vatican Embassy.

This meeting is noteworthy because it balances the intentions of the Pope’s visit with Kim Davis. Hopefully Mr. Grassi’s reunion with Pope Francis gains as much publicity as that of the more controversial meet-up, for the right reasons.

You can read more in-depth about the Pope’s meeting from Grassi in this Washington Post article.