Fr. Caesar D’Mello answers an interesting question.

Q) How can the Pope marry the airline staff since they already live together & have children? Why were they exempted from the preparation course and state of grace?
Sent by a Member of the O Community (St. Marie Goretti)

A) The Catholic News Agency, ZENIT, describes the circumstances of the couple. ‘They had 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.

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. Pope Francis said, “I’ll marry you.”

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.

The Pope held their hands, blessed the rings, and he married them in the name of God. The Pope said, “This is the sacrament the world needs, the sacrament of marriage. Hopefully, this will motivate couples around the world to get married.”

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.’

Fr. Neil dos Santos, the chancellor of the archdiocese offered a further clarification. He quoted Canon 1115 that marriages may be celebrated ‘elsewhere’ with the permission of the proper Ordinary or the proper parish priest. This implies that the Ordinary of the place of marriage is the authority to decide if marriages could be held in another place besides a Church or a chapel. The Pope has jurisdiction over the whole world and he can permit a marriage on a flight. The media gave the marriage a lot of publicity, but the desire was not do something that was never done before, but to offer the couple to rectify their marriage.

Also, note that the couple were advised strongly to be in the state of grace before encountering Christ in the sacrament of Matrimony. However, not being in the state of grace does not render the marriage null and void.

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