Pope Francis says divorce is sometimes 'morally necessary'

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Pope Francis Says Divorce Is Sometimes 'Morally Necessary'

Pope Francis has turned heads again with another controversial view. On Wednesday, in front of his weekly general audience, he said that sometimes divorce is "inevitable."

He also said, "Sometimes it can become even morally necessary, precisely when it comes to subtracting the weaker spouse, or small children, from more serious wounds caused by intimidation and violence, humiliation and exploitation."

As of now, the Catholic church doesn't officially accept divorces, though it does allow church-sanctioned annulments. But getting one is often a lengthy and complicated process.

34 PHOTOS
Pope Francis
See Gallery
Pope Francis says divorce is sometimes 'morally necessary'
Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives for his general audience at St Peter's square on June 17, 2015 at the Vatican. (Photo credit ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
The front of the popemobile is covered by scout's scarves as Pope Francis greets the crowd during an audience to the Italian Catholics Scouts (Agesci) at St Peter's square on June 13, 2015 at the Vatican. (Photo credit FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - APRIL 05: Pope Francis attends the Easter Mass at St Peter's Square on April 5, 2015 in Vatican City, Vatican. Tens of thousands of people gathered in Saint Peter's Square on Sunday morning, despite the cold and the rain, to take part in Solemn Mass with Pope Francis in celebration of Easter. Following the Liturgy, the Holy Father gave the traditional Blessing Urbi et Orbi- to the City ,of Rome, and to the World. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - APRIL 05: A general view during the Easter Mass on April 5, 2015 in Vatican City, Vatican. Tens of thousands of people gathered in Saint Peter's Square on Sunday morning, despite the cold and the rain, to take part in Solemn Mass with Pope Francis in celebration of Easter. Following the Liturgy, the Holy Father gave the traditional 'Blessing Urbi et Orbi'- to the City ,of Rome, and to the World. (Photo by Giulio Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - APRIL 05: Pope Francis attends the Easter Mass on April 5, 2015 in Vatican City, Vatican. Tens of thousands of people gathered in Saint Peter's Square on Sunday morning, despite the cold and the rain, to take part in Solemn Mass with Pope Francis in celebration of Easter. Following the Liturgy, the Holy Father gave the traditional 'Blessing Urbi et Orbi'- to the City ,of Rome, and to the World. (Photo by Giulio Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - APRIL 05: Pope Francis greets the faithful following the Easter Mass on April 5, 2015 in Vatican City, Vatican. Tens of thousands of people gathered in Saint Peter's Square on Sunday morning, despite the cold and the rain, to take part in Solemn Mass with Pope Francis in celebration of Easter. Following the Liturgy, the Holy Father gave the traditional 'Blessing Urbi et Orbi'- to the City ,of Rome, and to the World. (Photo by Giulio Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN, APRIL 5: Worshippers gather at St. Peter's Square as Pope Francis celebrates the Easter Mass in Vatican City on April 5, 2015. Thousands of worshippers from different countries attend the Easter Mass despite the heavy rain. (Photo by Baris Seckin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - APRIL 05: Pope Francis waves to the faithful as he delivers his 'Urbi et Orbi' blessing message from the central balcony of St Peter's Basilica at the end of the Easter Mass on April 5, 2015 in Vatican City, Vatican. Tens of thousands of people gathered in Saint Peter's Square on Sunday morning, despite the cold and the rain, to take part in Solemn Mass with Pope Francis in celebration of Easter. Following the Liturgy, the Holy Father gave the traditional 'Blessing Urbi et Orbi'- to the City ,of Rome, and to the World. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Pope Francis kisses the ampulla containing the blood of San Gennaro (Saint Januarius, patron of Naples) next to cardinal Crescenzio Sepe (L), archbishop of Naples at the Duomo as part of his pastoral visit on March 21, 2015 in Naples. Hundreds of thousands of people waving Vatican flags greeted Pope Francis as he headed deep into mafia territory, visiting jailbirds and the poor in Naples amid heightened security. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - OCTOBER 30: Pope Francis attends an audience with President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz at the Apostolic Palace on October 30, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis will speak before the European Parliament in Strasbourg, on November 25th, during its plenary assembly. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Pope Francis (R) wears a plastic poncho as he waves to well wishers after a mass in Tacloban on January 17, 2015. Pope Francis will spend an emotional day in the Philippines on January 17 with survivors of a catastrophic super typhoon that claimed thousands of lives, highlighting his concern over climate change. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - FEBRUARY 02: Pope Francis leads Mass with members of the institutes of Consecrated Life at St. Peter's Basilica on February 2, 2015 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff further urged the bishops to pay special attention to vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, saying that they need 'adequate training' throughout their ministry. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
METRO MANILA, PHILIPPINES - 2015/01/18: Pope Francis is in his 5-day trip to the Philippines for the first time from January 15 to 19. The pontiff's trip will be highlighted by visits to Haiyan-struck areas in the Visayas region, South of Manila. (Photo by John Jerome E. Ganzon/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Pope Francis smiles in front of a videocamera as he take part in a video conference to mark the end of the IV Scholas Occurrentes World Educational Congress, at the Vatican, on February 5, 2015. The 'Scholas Occurrentes' organization is an international project based in Argentina that brings together schools and educational networks from different cultures and beliefs. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - JANUARY 28: Pope Francis smiles as he receives from a newly married couple a figurine featuring himself, during his audience at the Paul VI Hall on January 28, 2015 in Vatican City, Vatican. Speaking during the weekly General Audience, the Pope called on fathers to be present in the lives of their children pointing out that the absence of a 'father figure' can have grave consequences. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Pope Francis holds a St. Therese's Icon during a press conference aboard a plane during his trip to the Philippines on January 15, 2015. Pope Francis arrived in the Philippines on January 15 for a five-day trip in the Catholic Church's passionate and chaotic Asian heartland that is tipped to attract a world-record papal crowd. AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE (Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 26: Pope Francis attends his weekly audience in St. Peter's Square on November 26, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. During today's General Audience Pope Francis told pilgrims the Church is on a continuing journey towards heaven. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - OCTOBER 02: Pope Francis kisses a young kid as he arrives in St. Peter's Square for his weekly audience on October 2, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. During the audience the Pontiff said the Church is not without sin because it is made up of sinners. Priests, sisters, bishops, cardinals and even Popes are sinners. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Pope Francis speaks during the audience to the Vatican employees, on December 22, 2014 in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - MAY 26: (ISRAEL OUT) Pope Francis prays by the Western Wall on May 26, 2014 in Jerusalem, Israel. Pope Francis arrived in Israel on Sunday afternoon, a day after landing in the Middle East for his first visit to the Holy Land. During his visit to the West Bank the Pontiff addressed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as 'unacceptable' and urged both sides to find courage in seeking a peaceful solution. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)
Pope Francis kisses a boy as he arrives for his general audience in St Peter's Square at the Vatican on February 26, 2014. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - SEPTEMBER 24: Pope Francis loses his 'papalina' cup as he catches a baseball ball thrown by a faithful at the end of his weekly audience at St. Peter's Square on September 24, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. During his General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis reflected on his Apostolic Voyage to Albania. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Pope Francis smiles as he wear a military Alpine hat upon his arrival at St.Peter's square for the weekly general audience on March 5, 2014. The pontiff today has defended the Catholic Church's record on tackling the sexual abuse of children by priests, saying 'no-one else has done more' to root out paedophilia. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - DECEMBER 17: Pope Francis blows out the candles on his birthday cake during his general audience at St Peter's square on December 17, 2014 at the Vatican City, Vatican. (Photo by Evren Atalay/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Pope Francis caresses a child during the audience to the Vatican employees, on December 22, 2014 in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis gestures in St.Peter's square at Vatican during his weekly general audience on March 5, 2014. Pope Francis has defended the Catholic Church's record on tackling the sexual abuse of children by priests, saying 'no-one else has done more' to root out paedophilia. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis exchanges gifts with the Prime Minister of Romania Victor Ponta (R) as his wife and European Parliament Member Daciana Sarbu (L) looks on during a private audience in the pontiff's studio at the Vatican on March 1, 2014. AFP PHOTO / POOL / ALESSANDRA TARANTINO (Photo credit should read ALESSANDRA TARANTINO/AFP/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - APRIL 23: Pope Francis drinks mate as he holds his weekly audience on April 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pilgrims have started to arrive in St. Peter's Square for the Canonization ceremony for Pope John XXIII and John Paul II, which will take place on Sunday 27th. (Photo by Giulio Origlia/Getty Images)
Pope Francis greets a child dressed up as a pope as he arrives for his general audience in St Peter's square at the Vatican on February 26, 2014. AFP PHOTO / OSSERVATORE ROMANO. RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / OSSERVATORE ROMANO' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo credit should read OSSERVATORE ROMANO/AFP/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - FEBRUARY 21: Pope Francis greets cardinals as he arrives at the Synod Hall for the morning session of Extraordinary Consistory on the themes of Family on February 21, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pope Francis will create 19 new cardinals during his first consistory on February 22. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Pope Francis salutes the crowd as he arrives for his general audience in St Peter's square at the Vatican on February 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis is welcomed by faithfuls while arriving for a visit to the parish of San Tommaso on the outskirts of Rome on February 16, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - APRIL 05: Pope Francis attends the Easter Mass on April 5, 2015 in Vatican City, Vatican. Tens of thousands of people gathered in Saint Peter's Square on Sunday morning, despite the cold and the rain, to take part in Solemn Mass with Pope Francis in celebration of Easter. Following the Liturgy, the Holy Father gave the traditional 'Blessing Urbi et Orbi'- to the City ,of Rome, and to the World. (Photo by Giulio Origlia/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The Los Angeles Times reported Francis appointed a panel of theologians last September to make the process simpler.

And The Wall Street Journal reported in December Francis said the church must find ways to be more welcoming of divorcées, as well as homosexuals. These comments, perhaps unsurprisingly, caused a split within church leadership.

One divisive issue is whether divorced followers should be able to receive communion, which, under the idea of Transubstantiation, Catholics believe is the literal body and blood of Christ. Communion is considered one of the Catholic church's most important sacraments.

Still, there is cautious early support for the pope's latest message. An associate professor of moral theology told the New York Post it "...may give women trapped in violent relationships the strength to put their safety ahead of doctrine."

Francis' comments are expected to set the stage for debates at the upcoming October Synod about if, and how, the church should adjust doctrine for changing family dynamics.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners