Tells the couple that the sacrament of matrimony is what the world needs today, and says he hopes their marriage will encourage others to do the same.
“It is something historic. What he told us was very important: This is the sacrament that the world needs. The sacrament of matrimony. Hopefully this motivates couples around the world to receive the sacrament. That’s why I’m doing this. That’s what he told us.”
Thus explained a pair of newlyweds married today on Pope Francis’ last day in Chile on the papal plane to his stop in Iquique.
The pair, Carlos and Paula, have been civilly married for eight years but had never received the sacrament of matrimony. (In many parts of the world, it is typical that civil marriages are performed apart from “church weddings” as priests do not have the civil authority to bind the couple as legally married. So couples do the legal process before a judge and then receive the sacrament — joining their lives in the eyes of God and the Church — some days afterward.)
According to reports, Carlos and Paula had planned to wed in 2010, but an earthquake destroyed the church where their wedding was to take place.
Thus eight years later, today, during the pope’s flight to Iquique, this pair approached the Holy Father to ask for his blessing. Francis asked if they were married, to which they responded yes, but only civilly, and they explained the situation of the earthquake. At this point, the pope offered to marry them, and both said yes.
“We couldn’t get married sacramentally because of the earthquake of February 27, 2010. … So the pope told us, ‘Ok, I’ll marry you. Are you sure? I need a witness.’ So I immediately went to look for a witness, Ignacio Cueto (the general manager of Latam, the airline). He asked us if there was love in our marriage, and if we wanted to stay together for the rest of our lives,” Carlos related to the press on hand.
“He took our hands, blessed the ring. He said some words, privately to us. And he married us in the name of God,” he said.
A marriage certificate was drawn up by hand on a piece of paper, a Vatican document requested by the pope, written out by the cardinals, and signed by the witness, the couple, and the pope.
“We are very happy,” Paula said. “I’m not saying much because I’m still in shock but we are very happy, and very excited.”