Supporters of gay marriage are incensed about the meeting of Pope Francis with Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who has refused to issue wedding licenses for same-sex unions, but there is a bright side to this encounter.

The church has been adamant in its rejection of divorced people, of adulterers and of unwed mothers. Jesus calls people who divorce and remarry adulterers, whose punishment is death by stoning. St. Paul rails against fornicators, whom Biblical law would treat in the same way.

But Pope Francis has embraced and encouraged a woman who has been divorced three times and married four and who has born two children out of wedlock. This surely indicates a change in church doctrine and a new acceptance of at least some of the realities of human nature.

This is not the first time Biblical strictures have been ignored by the church. Jesus urged that anyone who defiled children should have a millstone slung around his neck and be thrown into the sea. But today’s church is more merciful to pederasts.

The only problem in all of this is that we do not know which Biblical teachings are no longer valid. It behooves the church to issue a list of commandments we need no longer obey and punishments we need no longer inflict.

As for Davis, I hope she will return to the church she left. After the pope’s embrace, she can hardly be rejected by her local parish. And re-establishing her as a communicant will offer hope to all excommunicated divorcees, adulterers and fornicators that they too will again be welcome at the altar.

David Mills

Waterville


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