Pope Francis on Sunday plans to marry 20 couples whose relationships would traditionally be considered sinful, as he works to make the Catholic Church more inclusive.
The mass wedding at St. Peter’s Basilica will include couples who have been living together out of wedlock and those who already have children.
This will be the first Vatican wedding ceremony since Pope John Paul II married eight couples in 2000.
The event coincides with the upcoming start of an Extraordinary Synod of Bishops. The gathering will focus on a worldwide Vatican study of divorce, contraception and other family and social issues.
Pope Francis on Saturday said the spate of conflicts around the globe today are effectively a “piecemeal” Third World War, condemning the arms trade and “plotters of terrorism” sowing death and destruction.
“Humanity needs to weep and this is the time to weep,” Francis said in the homily of a Mass during a visit to Italy’s largest war memorial, a large, Fascist-era monument where more than 100,000 soldiers who died in World War I are buried.
The pope began his brief visit to northern Italy by first praying in a nearby, separate cemetery for some 15,000 soldiers from five nations of the Austro-Hungarian empire which were on the losing side of the Great War that broke out 100 years ago.
“War is madness,” he said in his homily before the massive, sloping granite memorial, made of 22 steps on the side of hill with three crosses at the top.
“Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction,” he said.
In the past few months, Francis has made repeated appeals for an end to conflicts in Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Gaza and parts of Africa.
Some portions of this article are from AP, Reuters.