Pope speaks out on breastfeeding in church
Encouragement may alarm some conservatives
Picture: The Telegraph/AP/L'Osservatore Romano
- Tom Kington for The Telegraph
- Vatican City
- January 13, 2014
Let them drink milk – so Pope Francis stuck to his informal ways on Sunday as he baptised 32 babies in the Sistine Chapel, declaring telling their mothers to feel relaxed about feeding them.
As the sound of babies crying echoed around the world famous chapel, Francis sought to put their mothers at ease as he undertook the annual papal tradition of baptising infants under Michelangelo's fresco of the creation of man.
"Today the choir will sing but the most beautiful choir of all is the choir of the babies who will make a noise. Some will cry because they are not comfortable or because they are hungry," he said during a brief homily.
"If they are hungry, mothers, feed them, tranquilly. Because they are the protagonists here," he said.
Francis said in December that women should feel comfortable about breast feeding during his ceremonies, a trend which could alarm conservatives in the Vatican. Breast feeding in public is rare in Italy and almost unheard of during catholic church services.
The relaxed atmosphere in the Sistine Chapel contrasted with weekdays, when it is run by strict guards who try to keep in check the hordes of tourists who pack in to stare at Michelangelo's masterpiece. Following damage to the fragile frescoes by dust and heat, officials decided to vacuum clean and blow cold air on visitors before they enter.
Source: The Telegraph