On the one hand, it is extremely good that PF did not just tell them that they were All Right as they were. His action admirably made clear that they needed to get married because, despite their civil 'marriage', they were not in fact married. Eccellente. Clearly, he will first have taken them aside and absolved them from their acts of fornication, before receiving their consent in the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony. What's not to like?
On the other hand, canonists have been uneasy about the "wedding" in the airliner. It all interests me because twice recently, 2 January and 14 January, I have vigorously argued against the apparent belief of some superhyperueberpapalists, that the Roman Pontiff, just because he makes and dispenses from laws, is himself above the Law.
And if it were to be asserted that "By doing X, PF tacitly dispensed himself from the law(s) against X", I would regard the implications of that approach as thoroughly disturbing ... almost like the Nazi notion that the Fuehrer's will is the Supreme Law. The whole business would suggest the ugly idea that "I'm the Pope and so I can do anything".
Indeed he is and indeed he can't.
God bless the pair of them! And him as well!
I wonder if the journalists will check that they were canonically free to marry, and ferret around to uncover the facts about the Act of God which prevented them from marrying in due form in the first place. An earthquake, was it ...