Pope Francis Performs Marriage For Couples 'Living In Sin'

In an unprecedented move, Pope Francis married 20 couples Sunday, many of whom live in situations condemned by official church teaching.
Posted at 8:13 PM, Sep 14, 2014

In another move toward broadening tolerance within the Catholic Church, Pope Francis married 20 couples at St. Peter's Basilica Sunday. 

But in keeping with the Pope's reputation for challenging tradition, the ceremony was quite liberal when it comes to church rule. 

Many of the now married couples, actually lived together before they said their vows. In the eyes of the Catholic Church sex before marriage is a sin. Also among the newlyweds is a woman who had a child out of wedlock and a man who was previously married. (Video via Centro Televisivo Vaticano)

ABC: "The weddings are viewed as a sign of the Pope's determination to stress the importance of marriage and make the Catholic church more inclusive."

Pope Francis via The Telegraph: "A little piece of advice. It's normal for married couples to argue. ... But my advice is, never let a day end without having first made peace. Never." 

One woman married by Pope Francis told an Italian newspaper"We didn't feel worthy or able to meet the requirements of a good Catholic couple. ... But the Church under the leadership of Pope Francis has welcomed and embraced us. ... This Pope is marvellous (sic) – he is renewing the Church."

But, of course, that's not a view shared by all. Especially since, as Al Jazeera points out, Pope Francis has been quite vocal with criticism of the church about what he has called an "obsession with imposing morality."

"I think we have a pope who is very pastoral and the whole question how can we bring together more of the pastoral care for people with the doctrine of the church." 

The BBC reports this was the first wedding the Pope has conduced in his 18-month papacy and the first papal wedding in 14 years. 

"The papal marriage ceremony ... came on the eve of a meeting of Catholic bishops from around the world to examine church teaching and family matters." 

In October the pope will join the world clergy to discuss the results of a worldwide survey that asked Catholics what they think about church teachings on family and marriage. 

This video includes an image from Getty Images.