As a conservative Catholic, he's endured it all: married, divorced, secured an annulment and remarried.
For so long, the Catholic Church offered nothing to its divorced faithful such as Frese, who became a single parent after winning custody of his three daughters. Divorced parishioners felt excommunicated by the church, which has long disdained divorce. Many just went to another Christian denomination, but not Frese.
"They don't feel welcomed and they don't feel understood and they're hurting and they need help," Frese said. But the Pope on Friday spotlighted this "underserved" flock by issuing a sweeping statement instructing priests to be more welcoming to divorced catholics. The declaration promises a new era for Frese, 55, a software firm owner who lives with his family outside Atlanta. He and wife Monica,
who also went through a divorce with children and an annulment, now have seven children together.
"He's shining a light in this darkness, and that's a wonderful thing," Frese said. "The Pope is saying we need to help these people, and that's why ultimately I think it's going to help."
Don't 'pigeonhole' those who divorce
The Pope calls on pastors not to "pigeonhole" divorced Catholics but to use their own judgment about how to integrate them into the church.
Divorced Catholics, which Francis described as living in an "irregular situation," must be integrated into the church.
"The divorced who have entered a new union should be made to feel part of the Church," the pope wrote.
"Christian communities must not abandon divorced parents who have entered a new union."
Francis added: "It can no longer simply be said that all those living in any 'irregular situation' are living in a state of mortal sin."
The Pope also urged individual parishes to interpret doctrine in accordance with their community's culture.
'Everybody has a shot here'
Under church teaching, remarried Catholics without an annulment of the prior marriage are considered adulterers and cannot receive Holy Communion.
The Rev. Edward Beck, a CNN religion commentator, interpreted Francis's new statement as providing a way to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion. Francis has already moved to make it easier to get an annulment.