Pope Francis has published new guidelines on family life that argue the 1.3 billion strong-Catholic Church should show more understanding of modern realities whilst not changing any doctrine.
The lengthy document, entitled 'Amoris Laetitia', or The Joy of Love, affirms the Church's teaching that stable families are the building blocks of a healthy society and a place where children learn to love, respect and interact with others.
At the same time the text released April 8 warns against idealizing the many challenges facing family life, urging Catholics to care for, rather than condemning, all those whose lives do not reflect the teaching of the Church.
The document focuses on the need for "personal and pastoral discernment'" for individuals.
It recognizes that "neither the Synod, nor this Exhortation could be expected to provide a new set of general rules, canonical in nature and applicable to all cases."
The document is based on two Synods on the issue.
It opens the way, however, for bishops in each country to interpret doctrine to suit their own culture, the BBC reports as it details the Pope's views on family life, marriage, contraception and bringing up children.
The document is the culmination of three years' work by Pope Francis.
Catholic doctrine deems that divorced Catholics who remarry are not allowed to receive Communion unless they get an annulment of their first marriage or abstain from sex with their new spouses.
If they fail to get an annulment, the church considers them adulterers and unworthy of receiving the Eucharist.
In the new guidelines, Francis did not change that that rule, but he indicated that priests should show flexibility in enforcing it.
The debate on the family has shown major regional differences within the church also provoking divisions within the faithful, The Wall Street Journal reported.
It cited priests in Germany regularly give Communion to remarried divorced people, while in neighboring Poland this rarely happens.