Pope Francis marries 20 couples at the Vatican, including some who had lived together and one that had a child before marriage. Sex outside marriage remains a sin according to Vatican doctrine. Francis says the church has a duty to forgive:
To spouses who ‘have become impatient on the way’ and who succumb to the dangerous temptation of discouragement, infidelity, weakness, abandonment, God the Father gives his Son Jesus, not to condemn them.
Guido Tassaro, who married partner Gabriella Improt with whom he has children, says being married by the Pope had seemed ‘impossible’:
When we discovered that it was happening, that it wasn’t a dream — well, it transformed us.
Vatican observers say the ceremony is designed to send a signal that the church is becoming more inclusive. The previous marriage ceremony by a pontiff was performed in 2000.