Pope Francis encourages mothers to breastfeed in the Sistine Chapel
Pope Francis said the 32 babies he was baptising were "the most important people" in the chapel
Pope Francis has become an unlikely advocate for public breastfeeding, by encouraging mothers to feed their babies in the Sistine Chapel.
During a ceremony in Vatican City on Sunday, the Pope baptised 32 babies and told their mothers: “If they are hungry, mothers, feed them, without thinking twice, because they are the most important people here.”
The ceremony saw the Pope deliver a brief, improvised homily centred on the children - a departure from the long, theology-laden sermons given by his predecessors.
“Today the choir will sing but the most beautiful choir of all is the choir of the infants who will make a noise. Some will cry because they are not comfortable or because they are hungry,” he told parents.
His words come after he linked breastfeeding to recycling food and wastefulness in an interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa last month, after a mother seemed shy about feeding her child in his presence.
He described how as he approached the mother at his weekly Papal General Audience, her child was “crying its eyes out” with hunger and so he asked her to “please give it something to eat!”
He added:“I wish to say the same to humanity: give people something to eat!”
Pope Francis baptises one of 32 babies during a mass in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican
In another apparent first in the Vatican, the parents of one of the babies at the ceremony were not married in church but at a civil service in a town hall - meaning their marriage is technically not recognised by the Catholic Church.
But the Pope has said several times since his election that the Church must not make children of couples in irregular situations feel like second-class faithful, and agreed to baptise 7-month-old Giulia Scardia into the faith.
“We decided to get married very quickly,” Giulia's mother Nicoletta told the Corriere della Sera newspaper. “We were in a hurry and there was no time to organise a church ceremony. Maybe we will do it sometime.”
Last year, Pope Francis has 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.
- 1 Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 What are your fingerprint words?
- 5 Gary Lineker involved in Twitter row after presenter rubbishes claims he will be warned by BBC over foul-mouthed tweets
Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
Jennifer Lawrence: Leaked 4Chan sex video branded 'fake' by users
Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked next, threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...
£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...