By Marcy Norton


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Pope Francis has released a 260 page document calling on the Catholic Church to be more welcoming and less judgmental of those living in so-called “irregular situations” such as divorced and remarried Catholics and homosexuals.

But it stops short of changing church doctrine.

There were few surprises in the much anticipated “apostolic exhortation,”  but St. Joseph’s University theology professor William Madges says some may not have expected the breadth of topics the Pope covered:

“Talking about the importance of passion in a marriage and he talks a about erotic love.”

But the focus is on the pope’s comments on divorce and homosexuality. Dr. Madges says Pope Francis stops short of endorsing gay marriage or allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to take communion.

Instead, he says “let’s find a way to accompany them and address their pastoral needs in the real life situation that they’re living.”

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput issued a statement saying this kind of “pastoral discernment” is already happening in many local parish communities…and that he will have more to say after he’s had time to fully read and interpret the document.