PopeWatch: Fly the Marrying Skies

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The Pope decided to marry two members of the crew of the airplane on which he was flying.  The couple had been married civilly for eight years but not religiously.  Father Z gives us the details:

I fairly dread papal trips these days. You never know what is going on happen on the papal airplane. Will there be another presser in which the Holy Father will says something like, “Who am I to judge?” That was a gift – now perpetually taken out of context and abused – that keeps on giving.

I read at Crux that the Holy Father married (witnessed the marriage) of a steward and stewardess on the papal airplane – during the flight.

Paula Podest, 39, and Carlos Ciufardi, 41, have been together for over ten years. They met in the air, where she was his boss as a flight attendant for LATAM, Chile’s flagship airline.
They have been civilly married since 2010. Days before they were scheduled to have their church wedding, an earthquake destroyed the church where they were supposed to marry.  [According to the Daily Mail, that was 8 years ago.  8 years… and they haven’t married in church?  I suppose they had marriage prep.  Also, in the case of an earthquake, the church building isn’t a sine qua non for getting married.  It is sad that they couldn’t get marriage in that church, but… marriage is the really important part of the equation, not the building or photos.]
On Thursday, as they were posing with Francis and the rest of the crew for the official picture, Francis asked them if they were married in the Church. They told him no, and the pontiff immediately took charge, asking them if they wanted him to marry them, and they agreed.

The newlyweds shared the conversation they had with the pontiff with the journalists, with Podest acknowledging that she was “still in shock,” so he did most of the talking, even though, from what they told journalists, “she’s still the boss in the house,” as she was at the airline when they met.
“It was historic,” the pope told them. “Never has a pope married a couple on a plane.”
“He asked us if we were married, I said no because of the earthquake, and he said, ‘well, I’ll marry you’,” according to Ciufardi.
The spouses asked the pontiff if he was certain about marrying them on the plane, asking him “are you sure?”

When the pope asked for a witness, they tapped the CEO of the airline, and to make sure there was no doubt over the validity of the sacrament, the pope “asked the cardinals who were with him” to draft the license, which they did. The document is handmade, signed by one of the cardinals, also a witness.
“He held our hands, blessed the rings, and he married us in the name of God,” Ciufardi said.
“What he said to us is very important: ‘This is the sacrament the world needs, the sacrament of marriage. Hopefully, this will motivate couples around the world to get married’,” Ciufardi said.
Speaking about the rings, Francis said that they shouldn’t be either too tight, because “they would be a torture,” or too loose, or else they might risk misplacing them.

These days there are controversies over the meaning of marriage.  These days, fewer and fewer couples are marrying.

For example, if a couple who are in an adulterous relationship because at least on party divorced his true spouse and then civilly marries another woman – without the church giving a declaration of nullity concerning his first, true marriage, can that remarried, adulterous couple be admitted to Holy Communion, even though they haven’t made any commitment to live chaste lives? Some say, “Yes!”, and, by doing so, they call into question the very meaning of matrimony and also the Eucharist.

At the very least, they make a mockery of matrimony, trivialize it.

I trust that this well-intentioned gesture by Pope Francis isn’t taken merely to be some sort of stunt, which the badly-motivated will utilize to trivialize the sacrament of matrimony even more than is is being trivialized today.

Another thing: may this couple stay together!  It would be… not so great were they to split up after this rather dramatic aerial display.  Headline: Papal midair marriage crashes!

I can’t say that I like the whole airplane thing.   The Pope makes his calls.  Who am I to judge?

Can we put sentimentality aside for a moment?   Gestures like this have consequences.  This wasn’t some odd priest on an airplane, it was the Vicar of Christ.

Again, this is all very huggy and warm and fuzzy.  But let’s think about this.

I wasn’t there, of course, but I think it could have been a good idea to make sure they knew what matrimony is really all about.   That’s what marriage preparation is for.  They’ve been civilly but not sacramentally married for 8 years.   All this time they didn’t seek the sacrament?  What’s that about?   Maybe the Pope got their story.

When a priest marries a couple, he should be reasonably sure that they know what they are getting into.  He can be fairly sure if they had some kind of marriage prep, done by himself or by another priest, etc.  You have to know before you witness the marriage of couple – if they are going to enter into this sacramental bond – whether or not they have the right intentions.   Does the couple – I’m speaking generically now – any couple – intend to remain together for life?   Do they intend for their bond to be exclusive?   Do they intend to accept the gift of children?


Go here to read the rest.  As far as this Pope is concerned, the laws of the Church are meant to be broken.  The example he sets for both the clergy and the laity is disastrous.


More to explorer

PopeWatch: Below the Belt

Sandro Magister gives us insight into the Pope’s thinking regarding predator priests: The most surprising news, in the journey that Pope Francis

Crashing Immaculate Conception

The Indian “elder” and fake Vietnam Vet is a piece of work:   The day after a Lincoln Memorial confrontation with some


  1. It was historic,” the pope told them. “Never has a pope married a couple on a plane.”
    “He asked us if we were married, I said no because of the earthquake, and he said, ‘well, I’ll marry you’,” according to Ciufard.

    A Pope has never done this on a plane!!!
    A formed conscience is missing somewhere over the rainbow.

    Next question. Valid or invalid? Not a Catholic marriage.
    Me thinks the Pope loves himself a little bit TOO much.

    “Historic” himself said… according to the Ciufard.
    That said it all!

  2. I have told my story about marriage and my failings previously. It is because of my failings and errors that I am disgusted with how this Pope treats the Sacrament of Marriage. We need to be told the truth and made to comply with the truth. I screwed up totally and am now estranged from my own children because of mistakes that this Pope is trying to normalize! That’s horrible!

  3. Is this not the same man who stated just a while back that “most Catholic Marriages are null” as they are not properly prepared? Now we have fly up marriage windows? Just as with the Holy Eucharist, Frank has no regard for Holy Matrimony. But then AL informed us of that already.

  4. Must admit, I first read this and thought, “what a cute and moving story.”

    Then read the rest.

    So now I wonder if maybe the problem is that y’all have gotten a protestant pope.

  5. For all we know, himself could try out for America’s Got Talent.
    Hopefully he does.
    Then just maybe he could make it to the finals.
    Once there, possibly win.
    If that happens then just maybe he had fed himself enough ego to retire the Chair of Peter.

    Something to pray for!

  6. Well, isn’t that special?
    His humbleness, pope happy face did a fairy tale wedding on a plane.
    What a travesty! How will the Vatican defend this indefensible stunt?

  7. “Days before they were scheduled to have their church wedding, an earthquake destroyed the church where they were supposed to marry.”

    Perhaps they were afraid the building was going to fall in on them.

  8. “The pope told them. “Never has a pope married a couple on a plane.”
    What next? A Pope marrying a couple on the phone? Pope makes a mockery of the Catholic Church. I believe it is intentional.

  9. Pat asked how the Vatican will defend this indefensible stunt.

    Papal mouthpiece, the formerly credible Greg Burke, has already gushed all over the place about how wonderful it all was. There will be no defense. Just calumny against the usual suspects for questioning His Impeccableness.

  10. I’m recalling the final scene of The African Queen, which was rather amusing. “Now, by ze ausority vested in me by Kaiser Vilhelm the second, I pronounce you man and vife. Prozeed vis ze execution”. Of course, the Pope doesn’t have the excuse that the couple were facing immanent death, at his had or anyone elses.

  11. PopeWatch has been increasingly animated by the Erma Bombeck Principle (her rebuke to Betty Friedan), “You can’t make it better, you laugh at it”. (I’m anticipating McClarey, Esq. offering a PopeWatch bulletin on the Pope’s rude rebuke to Chilean laymen who’ve objected to one of the sketchy characters he’s placed into an episcopal see down there).

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