Reaffirming opposition to gay marriage, Pope Francis on Sunday opened a three-week gathering of bishops from around the world but said the Church had to show love and understanding towards all.Francis dedicated one third of his homily to the topic of love between man and woman and its role in procreation.

“This is God’s dream for his beloved creation: to see it fulfilled in the loving union between a man and a woman, rejoicing in their shared journey, fruitful in their mutual gift of self,” he said.He also spoke of the “true meaning of the couple and of human sexuality in God’s plan,” a clear reference to heterosexual marriage.But Francis also stressed that the Church must be more welcoming, charitable, compassionate and merciful to all people