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News Catholic Church Wed Jan 24, 2018 - 6:35 pm EST Pope defends in-flight wedding by saying couple had marriage prep eight years ago January 24, 2018 ( LifeSiteNews ) – Pope Francis explained his decision to conduct mid-air marriage ceremony during his recent trip to Chile at a press conference held Monday during the return flight to Rome. According to Francis, the husband of the civilly-married pair – both of whom were working as flight attendants on the pope’s flights within Chile – approached him on a flight the day earlier to ask the pope various general questions about life and about marriage. “I spoke to him … Then, I realized that he was ‘testing’ me: he spoke of life, what I thought about life, about family life, he was speaking … we had a nice chat,” said Francis. “Then, the next day, both of them were there, and when we had done the (group) photo (with the crew), they then said to me, “We were going to get married in a church, we got married civilly, but the day before – it seems that they were from a small town – the church was damaged by the earthquake (of 2010) and there was no wedding.” The pope then explained that they had continued to put off their sacramental marriage for years while engaging in sexual activity and having children. “Yes, we will do it tomorrow, the day after tomorrow … That’s life. Then a daughter came, then another daughter … But we always had this in our hearts: we are not married,” the pope quoted them as saying. The pope then explained the procedure he followed to verify that the two were prepared for marriage, quoting the two regarding the permanence of marriage and citing their claim that they had received marriage preparation eight years earlier. “I questioned them a bit, and the responses were clear: “For all of our lives … ” – “And how do you know this? You have a good memory of the catechism … ” “No, we did the marriage preparation courses at that time.” In response to the many priests and Catholic commentators who have expressed concern that the pope’s acts will undermine marriage preparation and stimulate demands for weddings outside of churches, Francis said, “Tell the parish priests that they were prepared, and I judged that they were prepared.” Francis said he did the wedding in mid-air because, “They asked me.
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