The following excerpt, from a recently uncovered papyrus in the Vatican Library, appears to be the original version of the text which has come down to us as the first few verses of the tenth chapter of the Gospel according to Mark.
10 Francis then left that place and went into the region of Italy and across the Tiber. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them.
2 Some cardinals came and tested him by asking, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’
3 ‘What did John Paul command you?’ he replied.
4 They said, ‘John Paul would not permit a man to divorce his wife nor to receive Holy Communion if he had done so.’
5 ‘It was because he was not so merciful as I that John Paul wrote you this law,’ Francis replied.
6 ‘But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female.
7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife. But if the experiment does not work, he can always try again. That’s only natural. For it is not good for man (or woman) to be alone.’
8 When they were in the house again, the cardinals asked Francis about this. He answered, ‘I have no intention of clarifying this matter any further.
9 And if you continue to press me I shall have your red hats for Christmas decorations.’