Catholic bishops on Saturday approved a 'consensual' final report from their synod on the family after reaching compromise positions on the most divisive issues.
After three weeks of often bitter debates between Church conservatives and progressives, the text was submitted to Pope Francis, who is not bound by it but is expected to take it into consideration when he updates guidelines on Catholic teaching on a broad range of issues linked to family life.
The text advocates a "case-by-case" approach to the most controversial question, the handling of divorced and remarried believers, saying they needed to play a greater role in the Church but stopping short of explicitly ending the current ban on their receiving communion.
The document includes only one brief article on the Church's approach to homosexual believers, framing the question in terms of how priests can help support families who have "persons with homosexual tendencies" in their midst.
It reiterates that the Church believes every person, regardless of their sexuality, is worthy of respect and a reception which takes care to "avoid every sign of unjust discrimination."
But it strongly reiterates the Church's opposition to gay marriage saying: "There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and the family."