Pope marries flight attendants in mid-air wedding

Juan Carlos Cruz poses for a portrait in Wilmington Delaware. Cruz says he can't accept the Pope's apology until those who protected his abuser are brought to justice

They had the intention of carrying out a church ceremony, but the quake which hit southern Chile in March 2010 damaged the venue where they were going to hold the service, so they made a decision to postpone the marriage. The pope then offered to marry the LATAM flight attendants aboard the Airbus 321 and they quickly agreed.

Crew members Paula Podest and Carlos Ciuffardi celebrate after being married by Pope Francis.Pope Francis asked them if they were married and the couple told him they had been scheduled to be Wednesday when the 2010 Chile natural disaster hit, destroying the church where they were to tie the knot.Life went on for the two flight attendants, who had met at work - Podest is Ciuffardi's boss - and have two children: Rafaela, 6, and Isabela, 3.

According to Ciuffardi, who spoke briefly with journalists after the ceremony, the Pope asked the couple if they were married yet, and when they explained why they hadn't been married in the Church, he said "do you want to get married?"

According to Ciuffardi, Francis told them what happened "was historic", because "never has a Pope married a couple on a plane".

"We told him that we are husband and wife, that we have two daughters and that we would have loved to receive his blessing", Ciuffardi said.




Quick marriages in non-traditional settings may be de regueur in Las Vegas, but the Catholic Church usually prefers couples to be married in a church, preferably after a six-month Pre-Cana course. Ciuffardi laughed and answered, "Yes, she is."The hand-written wedding certificate, signed by Pope Francis.Ciuffardi told reporters that the Pope told them, "This is the sacrament that is missing in the world, the sacrament of marriage".

A stunned Podest was almost speechless during the remaining hour on the flight as she recounted the story to the 70 or so journalists who travel with the pope on his foreign trips.

"We wish them the very best for the future", said Cueto, LATAM chairman.

"We hope you had a good flight", the bride said.

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