Pope: 'Love between a man and a woman ... is not made in a day'

Story highlights

  • A lifetime love takes time to grow, the pope tells fiances
  • Pope argues implicitly against premarital sex

(CNN)Speaking off the cuff to the many engaged couples gathered Wednesday in St. Peter's Square for his weekly audience, Pope Francis said that a lifetime love takes time to grow.

"The alliance of love between a man and a woman, an alliance for life, cannot be improvised, and is not made in a day," the Pope said.
    Francis spoke a day after his top deputy, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, referred to Ireland's vote this week in favor of gay marriage as "a defeat for humanity." There was no indication, however, that the Pope's message to the betrothed referred in any way to the Irish vote.
    He did speak to the importance of couples using their engagement periods to "come to know one another better in planning for the beautiful yet demanding enterprise of marriage."
    He also argued implicitly against premarital sex.
    "The Church, in her wisdom, maintains the distinction between engaged and married couples -- they are not the same," he said. "Today's culture and society have become rather indifferent to the delicate and serious nature of this passage."