Pope signals shift in hardline on marriage
TWENTY couples were married by the Pope in St Peter's Basilica yesterday - but one bride was already a mother.
In what will be seen as a softening of hardline attitudes on co-habiting couples, and children born outside of marriage, Pope Francis in his homily likened families to the "bricks that build society".
Among the couples - pictured right - all from the Rome area, was one in which the groom's first marriage was annulled by the church and the bride had a daughter from an earlier relationship. Some of the other couples were already were living together. The Vatican's official view on sex outside marriage is that it is a sin, but Pope Francis stressed that the church should be a forgiving one.
He said marriage was "real life, not some TV show". He told the couples that love of Jesus can help whenever their love "becomes lost, wounded or worn out". Some hope a major Vatican meeting next month on family concerns might lead to permission for divorced Catholics who remarry to receive Communion. Pope Francis has reportedly told a woman in his Argentine homeland whose husband's first marriage wasn't annulled that she was free of sin and should take Communion anyway. The Vatican quickly clarified that the Pope's private conversations don't reflect church policy. Yesterday's weddings may signal a shift in the status-quo.