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Pope: Church Should 'Accompany' Those Divorced, Not Condemn

During a morning Mass on Friday, Pope Francis said the Church must accompany, not condemn, those who have experienced divorce.
Image: Pope Francis
Pope Francis leaves after his weekly general audience in St Peter's Square at the Vatican on January 8, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ Gabriel BOUYSGABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty ImagesGABRIEL BOUYS / AFP - Getty Images, file

Pope Francis on Friday appeared to soften the Roman Catholic Church's position on another hot-button social issue: Divorce.

During a morning Mass on Friday, Pope Francis said those divorced should be "accompanied," not "condemned," according to the official Vatican news network.

The pontiff went on to say that those around a divorcing couple should not give in to the temptation of casuistry, a specific-instance based reasoning often used in debating ethical questions.

“It is always the small case. And this is the trap, behind casuistry, behind casuistical thought, there is always a trap,” the pope said. “Against people, against us, and against God, always.”

He recalled the story of Adam and Eve, how they joined together to become one, and encouraged the faithful to "see how beautiful love is, how beautiful marriage is, how beautiful the family is, how beautiful this journey is, and how much love we too (must have), how close we must be to our brothers and sisters who in life have had the misfortune of a failure in love."

Francis’ remarks about divorce come at a time when he has been working with cardinals to discuss family-related issues such as contraception, cohabitation, divorce and gay relationships.