Pope Francis has expressed his support of breast feeding in public.
In an interview with the Italian newspaper La Stampa, the first Jesuit Pope linked topics including recycling food and wastefulness to breastfeeding: saying mothers should not be ashamed to feed their hungry babies.
He expressed his view via the story of a young mother who attended his weekly Papal General Audience.
He described how as he approached the mother, her child was “crying its eyes out” with hunger and so he asked her to “please give it something to eat!”
He continued: “She was shy and didn’t want to breastfeed in public, while the Pope was passing. I wish to say the same to humanity: give people something to eat!”
He also condemned priests who do not baptise children of unmarried mothers, calling it “a sick mentality”.
But when the newspaper asked him about the exclusion of remarried divorcees from the Catholic Church he did not directly disagree with the practice, but rather said that it is “not a sanction”.
During the interview, Pope Francis also discussed Christmas, the reform of the Roman Curia, women cardinals, and his upcoming visit to the Holy Land.
Pope Francis has garnered a more positive response from the public and media than his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI, and has been credited with attempting to modernise the Catholic Church and aligning himself more closely with the basic needs of worshippers.
Most recently, he was named ‘Person of the Year’ by a leading gay rights magazine after he said: “If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?”
He was also named Time magazine ‘Person of the Year’, beating whistleblower Edward Snowden, Miley Cyrus and Barack Obama, to the title.
However, Pope Francis has also had to defend himself after he was criticised by prominent conservatives for preaching so-called “pure Marxism”.
In a separate interview with La Stampa, the Pope called Marxism “wrong”, but did not condemn people who hold left-wing views.
Pictures of the year: World News 2013
Pictures of the year: World News 2013
A relative of a victim weeps by flowers put in front of the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria, southern Brazil where a blaze left a death toll of over 230
A view of the wall of a local zinc plant which was damaged by a shock wave from a meteor in the Urals city of Chelyabinsk. A meteor strike in central Russia that left hundreds of people injured is the biggest known human toll from a space rock
Newly elected Pope Francis I appears on the central balcony of St Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected as the 266th Pontiff and will lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics
People visit a make-shift memorial on Boylston Street near scene of Boston Marathon explosions, which killed 3 people and injured estimated 265
Danielle Stephan holds boyfriend Thomas Layton as they pause between salvaging through the remains of a family member's home after a tornado devastated the town Moore, Oklahoma. Rescuers went building to building in search of victims and thousands of survivors were homeless after a massive tornado tore through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, wiping out whole blocks of homes and killing at least 24 people
An Egyptian holds up posters during a protests against President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood as they joined thousands at Egypt's landmark Tahrir square in Cairo. Egypt braced for mass rallies with President Mohamed Morsi's opponents determined to oust him and his Islamist supporters vowing to defend his legitimacy to the end, stoking fears of a violent first anniversary of his taking office
A crane removes a derailed train's car at the site of the Spain's deadliest rail disaster, near the city of Santiago de Compostela. A train hurtled off the tracks in northwest Spain killing at least 77 passengers and injuring more than 140
US Army Private First Class Bradley Manning was found guilty of several counts under the Espionage Act and sentenced to 35 years in prison for passing hundreds of thousands of classified military documents to WikiLeaks
Pakistani earthquake survivors rest near their collapsed mud houses in the earthquake-devastated district of Awaran. The death toll from a major earthquake that hit southwestern Pakistan rose to almost 400
Demonstrators stand atop a monument during a teachers protest demanding better working conditions and against police beating in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
A boy who was wounded by flying debris due to Super Typhoon Haiyan stays at the ruins of his family's house in Tacloban city. Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded killed at least 10,000 people in the central Philippines province of Leyte with coastal towns and the regional capital devastated by huge waves
Nelson Mandela passed away at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. People passed the casket to pay their respects as former South African President Nelson Mandela laid in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria