The Pope’s Blessing by Clay Libolt

Clay Libolt is a retired pastor living in the Pacific Northwest (and sometimes in Arizona). Since his retirement, he has served as interim pastor several times and once as a high school principal. He  launched his website and the accompanying blog because of his love for the Bible and because he believes what’s best about the Bible is often lost in the theological welter of our age. He brings to this task and to this love not only seminary training (Calvin Theological Seminary) but a Ph.D. in Ancient Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan. You may at first find his approach to the Bible different from the approach you were taught–more literary, more embedded in ancient culture–but press on. There is much to be gained and little to be lost by reading the Bible in this way.


What do the Roman Catholic, United Methodist, and CRCNA have in common? Read Dr. Clay Libolt’s intriguing reflection on the Pope’s declaration allowing priests to bless same-sex marriages and decisions made by the United Methodists. There are lessons to be learned in other church circles. 


Dr. Clayton Libolt reflects on how two large branches of Christianity are dealing with questions relating to persons with different sexual orientations or gender identities in faith communities. The recent declaration by Pope Francis that allows priests to bless same-sex marriages, with significant constraints, is assessed as a positive step forward, although it falls short of full acceptance. The path of amicable separation chosen by the United Methodist church is assessed as less positive. Against that background Libolt suggests that the CRCNA consider options more similar to what is happening within RC circles, as a course correction to the path chosen at Synod 2022 and 2023.

The Pope’s Blessing