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Pope Francis Conducts Wedding Ceremony for 20 Couples, Some Already Cohabiting

Pope Francis Conducts Wedding Ceremony for 20 Couples, Some Already Cohabiting

Pope Francis officiates a mass at the wedding of 20 couples in St.Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Rome, Italy, Sept. 14, 2014. | (Photo: Reuters/Giampiero Sposito)

Pope Francis married 20 couples at the St.Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on Sunday, in an effort to have the Catholic Church become more forgiving in its view on premarital issues as some were already living together and had children.

The Vatican views individuals, who have had sex outside marriage as being in sin, but Pope Francis emphasized that the church needed to be inclusive and open to accepting them.

"This is what marriage is all about: man and woman walking together, wherein the husband helps his wife to become ever more a woman, and wherein the woman has the task of helping her husband to become ever more a man. Here we see the reciprocity of differences," the Pope said, reports the National Catholic Reporter.

He added, "The love of Christ, which has blessed and sanctified the union of husband and wife, is able to sustain their love and to renew it when, humanly speaking, it becomes lost, wounded or worn out."

During his message, the Pope gave the couples sound advice telling them that their wedding bliss will be tested and even told them that Christ would be able to help them resist the "dangerous temptation of discouragement, infidelity, weakness, abandonment."

At the beginning of the wedding mass, the brides, who all wore white gowns, were accompanied down the aisle of the basilica by their fathers while the grooms entered with their mothers. Each couple also read their wedding vows and exchanged rings.

Among the couples were Gabriella and her partner Guido who thought they would never have the chance to get married since Guido's previous marriage was annulled by the church and the bride has a daughter.

As a token of appreciation, each couple jointly contributed to an educational and recreational center for disadvantaged youth in a suburban neighborhood of Rome.

The ceremony was the first of its kind since the last time a papal ceremony took place was 14 years ago when Pope John Paul II presided over a wedding in 2000.

In addition, the ceremony was just one aspect of Pope Francis' leniency within the Catholic Church compared to his predecessor, the German Pope Benedict, who at one point said threats to the traditional family undermined the future of humanity itself.

In the past, Pope Francis has shown himself more open on the subject of marriage, and has spoken of more realistic attitude to social issues, including the topic of homosexuality, broken marriages and abandoned women.


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