Pope performs first marriage on board a papal flight

Laura Christensen
January 20, 2018

On the first papal visit to the Amazon since John Paul II visited the northern Peruvian city of Iquitos in 1985, the Argentine pope said he had heard the "cry of the people".

The pontiff stepped in after Paula Podest Ruiz, 39, and Carlos Ciuffardi Elorriga, 41, explained how their planned ceremony could not go ahead - because their local church in Santiago had been heavily damaged in the country's 2010 quake.

It all kicked off when the Pope got chatting to the stewards, and found out that they had actually been married in a civil ceremony back in 2010, but could not go through with their religious ceremony due to an natural disaster.

Upon hearing that bittersweet story, Pope Francis asked the couple if they wanted him to perform a wedding ceremony right then and there, at 36,000 feet in the air!

At the end of the ceremony, which took place out of view of journalists travelling with the pope, the two Latam employees co-signed a handwritten marriage certificate which bore the pope's simple signature "Francis".

Anti-pope protests had to be broken up with tear gas, attackers burned at least 11 Roman Catholic Churches and pamphlets were found threatening Francis that the "next bomb would be in your cassock".

"It's not enough for the pope to ask forgiveness in Chile, if he's not going to listen to the victims", said Athie, an activist with the Network for the Rights of the Victims of Sexual Abuse.

"We need the native peoples to shape the culture of the local churches in Amazonia", he said. In his landmark 2015 encyclical, "Praise Be", Francis demanded world leaders do more to protect what he called "one of the lungs" of God's creation, and denounced the profit-at-all-cost business interests behind its steady demise.

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Five people managed to get out and were treated by rescue workers on the spot, reports said . These buses are still used in former Soviet nations, and are often decades old.

"He also said that the wedding rings shouldn't be too tight, because they'll torture you, but that if they're too loose, they'll fall off".

"His desire to be with us signals an historic reconciliation with the Amazon's indigenous communities", said Edwin Vasquez, an indigenous leader.

In it, the agency said, Francis acknowledged the controversy around Barros and referred to a previous plan to ask for Barros' resignation.

Ciuffardi and his wife, Podest, told the pope at the start of their courtship, she was his boss.

Felipe Morales, from a group called the Workers' Socialist Front, said many were unhappy with the pope and the church's historical influence in Chile.

Francis, who wasn't hurt, had his driver stop so he could get out to check on the officer, described by the Vatican as a Chilean policewoman. Before the service began, Francis took a long, looping ride in his popemobile through the grounds to greet well-wishers, some of whom had camped out overnight to secure a spot. Campaigners have used Francis' South American visit to rekindle their complaints against him. He wasn't hurt, and the Vatican later revealed the offending object: A rolled up canvas hat with the words "Pray for the Chilean family".

Chilean sexual abuse victims claim that Bishop Juan Barros covered up abuse by Father Fernando Karadima.

Another senior Catholic figure in Chile, Bishop Alejandro Goic of Rancagua, criticised Bishop Barros's continuing role in the Church, telling T13 radio: "It left me with a bitter taste that a brother of mine occupied a leading role [in the abuse scandal] that was not good".

Other reports by My Hot News

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