TUTXLA, Mexico — As Catholics await a document from Pope Francis on the family, in which some are hoping for flexibility on a Communion ban for those who civilly remarry after divorce, the pontiff has reiterated Church teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman, forever.

Francis also said that receiving Communion is not the only way of belonging to the Church.

“Today we see how on different fronts the family is weakened and questioned,” Francis said Monday in Chiapas, Mexico. “It is regarded as a model which has done its time, but which has no place in our societies; these, claiming to be modern, increasingly favor a model based on isolation.”

Francis spoke to about 50,000 people gathered at the Victor Manuel Reyna stadium in Tuxtla Gutierrez, capital of Chiapas, one of Mexico’s poorest states. Earlier in the day, he celebrated Mass for the local indigenous community.

The pontiff is expected to release a document, technically called an “apostolic exhortation,” sometime in March drawing conclusions from the two Synods of Bishops on the family he held in October 2014 and 2015. The question of whether divorced and civilly remarried Catholics should be able to receive Communion is expected to be one of the issues he addresses.

Before Francis, four different families told their stories: a family with a child in a wheelchair, a couple married for 50 years, a single mother, and Humberto and Claudia Gomez, divorced and remarried outside of the Church.

The pope had a copy of their remarks in advance, and it’s safe to say the Vatican green-lighted their texts, which had been sent to Rome before Francis left for Mexico last Friday.

The Gomez have been civilly married for 16 years. He was single; she was divorced with three children. Together, they had one more, “who’s 11 and an altar boy,” Humberto Gomez said, speaking for both of them.

“Our relationship has been one of love and comprehension,” Gomez said. “We agree on the important things, but three years ago, the Lord spoke to us and we joined a group for divorced and remarried Catholics that changed our lives.”

Francis listened carefully, nodding his head.

“We got closer to the Church, and we received the love and mercy of our coordinators and other divorced and remarried Catholics,” he said. “After we received the hug and love of our Lord, our heart didn’t fit in our chest.”

Gomez said that even though those who have remarried after a divorce can’t receive the Eucharist, “we can receive Communion through the brother in need, the brother who’s ill, those imprisoned.”

Since joining the group, the couple has volunteered at a hospital and a prison, helping recovering addicts.

“The Lord is marvelous and allows us to serve who needs it,” the Gomez said. “We only said ‘Yes’ and he took care of telling us where to go.”

Francis, as he has many times before, spoke off-the-cuff in Spanish, departing from his prepared remarks to praise the couple: “You used a nice expression: ‘We’re in communion with the weak brother, the infirm, the needy, the imprisoned.’

“You dared, you pray, you’re with Jesus,” Francis told them. “You’re integrated in the life of the Church!”

Referring to the story told by Beatrice, the single mother who spoke about feeling alone while facing an uncertain future, struggling to make ends meet, the pope called for laws to protect and guarantee “the bare necessities of life so that every home and every person can develop through education and dignified employment.”

The pope decried those societies that claim to be “free, democratic, sovereign,” but that are actually “colonies of destructive ideologies” that jeopardize the core of the family, the “cornerstone of society as a whole.”

“It is true that living in a family is not always easy, and can often be painful and stressful,” the pope said. “But I prefer a wounded family that makes daily efforts to put love into play to a society that is sick from isolation and the comfort of being afraid to love.”

Once again straying off-text, Francis told the story of a Latin American actress who, when she was approaching age 60, was advised to “get some work done” — that is, cosmetic surgery — to be able to continue acting. According to the pope, she said she had worked hard to get her wrinkles, and they represented suffering, but also a life lived fully.

“The same thing happens in a marriage,” he said. “Married life has to be renewed every day. I prefer wrinkled families, wounded, scared, but that keep on loving.”

These wounds, scars, and wrinkles, Francis said, “are fruits of a fidelity and love that wasn’t always easy. Love is not easy, but it’s the nicest thing a man and a woman can be given together: true love, for life.”