VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis acknowledged on Wednesday that sometimes it is impossible for spouses to stay together.

“It is true … that there are cases when separations are inevitable. Sometimes they can even become morally necessary,” the pontiff said during his weekly audience in Saint Peter’s Square.

Francis was referring to domestic violence and exploitation.

His remarks came a day after the publication of a working document for the Oct. 4-25 synod, a world summit of bishops.

“Around us we find several families in so-called irregular – I don’t like this word – situations, and we pose ourselves many questions. How can we help them? How can we support them? How can we support them so that children do not become hostages of their father or mother?” the pope said.