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.
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