“They were prepared,” Pope Francis said, explaining the circumstances of the marriage of flight attendant Paula Podesta Ruiz, 39 and steward Carlos Ciuffardi Elorriaga, 41, on the occasion of the Pope’s press conference on the plane that brought him from Lima to Rome (January 21-22, 2018). The Holy Father blessed the couple’s sacramental marriage during the flight in Chile from Santiago to Iquique, on January 18, 2018.
The spouses expressed their joy. “Our marriage will be very significant for all the couples in the world who have not married. It will encourage people to get married. We are of the diocese of heaven!”, they said.
The Pontiff explained the circumstances to the journalists. “One of you said that I was crazy to do these things. But the matter is simple. The steward had been on the flight of the previous day, but she [Paula Podesta] wasn’t there. He spoke to me. And I also spoke of life, how I thought of life, and then of family life. We had such a conversation.
“The following day they were together and when we had the photos taken, they told me that eight years before they were to be married in church, but that the day before the church was destroyed by an earthquake, so there wasn’t a marriage. They said: ‘we’ll do it tomorrow, the day after tomorrow . . . And then life went on, a daughter arrived, then another, but they always had a sacramental marriage in their heart. “We aren’t married.”
“I asked them some questions and they told me that they had attended the preparation for marriage . . . I judged that they were prepared so, why do tomorrow what can be done today? And if that tomorrow were to mean ten more years? Both of them prepared themselves before God by the Sacrament of Penance. They also told me that they had confided to some their intention to ask me to marry them . . .”
“The Sacraments are for men, all the conditions were clear. So tell the parish priests that the Pope asked them the questions that one must ask.”