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Pope's guide to love, sex and marriage covers surprising subjects

Pope Francis tells Catholics to let their conscience show them how to behave, not church rules
Pope issues guide to love, sex and marriage 02:26

It's the pope's guide to love, sex and marriage.

The 260-page document titled "The Joy of Love" is the result of two years of Catholic bishops discussing the issues that face families around the world.

While there are no real bombshells or changes in doctrine, what we read here is from a pragmatic pope who seems to understand the pressures of modern families and relationships, reports CBS News correspondent Seth Doane.

Pope shares progressive views on divorce 00:23

Father Thomas Rosica from the Holy See Press Office says it's some of the most beautiful language he's ever seen in a papal document.

"This is not a manual of answers to all of the great problems," Rosica said. "It's rather an honest attempt to raise all the great questions that families are facing today."

Francis famously said, "Who am I to judge?" when once asked about homosexuals. But that didn't stop him from a judgment on same-sex marriage in this paper.

"There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions," the document said.

He calls divorce evil, but he has left the door open for people who are remarried without an annulment to take communion.

On gender identity, the document says to accept our humanity "as it was created." But that's not exactly the acceptance the transgender community was looking for.

Perhaps most surprising is Pope Francis acknowledges of pressures on modern relationships.

"He tackled issues some marriage counselors wouldn't address, like being attracted to people outside of your marriage and diminishing attraction to one another as people age," said Candida Moss, professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame.

While this document may not usher in radical change, Pope Francis did recognize the great diversity among the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

He left room for discretion among regional churches and at times is quite practical, recommending marital advice for young couples. He recommended a morning kiss, trips together and sharing the chores.

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