A live marriage proposal at Pope Francis’ feet was the fanciful initiative of Dario Ramirez, an exiled Venezuelan politician, on August 27, 2017. The unheard of gesture surprised both his companion and the Pope. However, the break in protocol had the permission of Cardinal Schoenborn, Archbishop of Vienna, who was present.
The municipal councilor, forced to flee three years ago the regime of President Nicolas Maduro, took part in the meeting of the International Catholic Legislators Network (ICLN), based in Austria. Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn accompanied some 80 politicians to the event.
Accompanied by his fiancée, Maryangel Espinal, Dario Ramirez greeted the Pope and exchanged ideas with him on the situation in Venezuela, especially that of political prisoners. “The Holy Father said that he prays a lot and that he is doing all that he can to help,” said the municipal councilor to the “National Catholic Register.”
However, the conversation didn’t end there. “I explained to the Holy Father that the woman beside me was the woman of my life, that I met her at church, that God put her in my life, and that I would like to ask for her in marriage. And then I knelt on the ground and I made my request,” In a video of the scene, where one hears the enthusiastic applause of the participants in the meeting, the Pope seems to answer, with an astonished air: “Before the Pope!” and he adds looking at Maryangel Espinal: “She isn’t speaking – he asked you to marry him, what do you say?” “Of course, yes!” the young woman then cried, taking the ring handed to her. The Pope then blessed them.
Dario Ramirez obtained from Cardinal Schoenborn the permission to make this unaccustomed gesture before the Pope. “I said it was for the history of the ICLN,” and the Cardinal answered “It’s for the history of the Church!”
“The Pope was very surprised; those handling protocol were somewhat furious, but finally we all laughed a lot,” concluded the Venezuelan.
Translation by Virginia M. Forrester