Pope John Paul the Second has already tipped Vatican traditionalists off balance several times since he became the spiritual leader of the world's Roman Catholics.
Pope John Paul the Second has already tipped Vatican traditionalists off balance several times since he became the spiritual leader of the world's Roman Catholics. Now he has done it again by agreeing to a request from a Roman garbageman to officiate at his daughter's wedding.
SYNOPSIS: The girl is Signorine Vittoria Ianni (pronounced EE-YAN-EE), is twenty-two. Vittoria has been engaged for a long time to twenty-nine-year old Mario Maltese. The story goes that Pope John Paul met Vittoria's father while making his Christmastime excursion through some of Rome's neighbourhoods.
Vittoria gave a breathless account to Italian television of how the Pontiff came into her nuptial pictures. It seems that, when Pope John Paul asked the citizens during his walkout, "What can you Pope do for you?", her father stepped forward and asked, "Could you please take charge at my daughter's wedding?" Apparently, everyone was startled when the Pope said, yes, he would.
Vittoria herself saw the Pope earlier this month...a personal interview at the Vatican. When the audience began, Vittoria, who was naturally very nervous, said to the Pope, 'Will you marry me?' We're told the Pontiff was, for a moment, taken aback ... but that he eventually understood what she had meant. For the second time, she could scarcely believe that he had agreed, although the Pope also carries the title of the Bishop of Rome. Apart from the disbelief, Vittoria said she had been overwhelmed by the feeling of warmth and understanding that the burly, white-haired Pontiff had projected while they were taking.
From that moment, it was just a case of setting the date and time for the wedding to Mario. A Papal aide visited her, clucked over the Pope's heavy schedule, but decided it would happen on Sunday (25 February) in the Pauline Chapel of St. Peter's. The couple want it to be private. But, since this would be the first commoners' wedding a Pope has performed for centuries, the world's press was poised eagerly to thwart that wish.