Lovable pontiff and all-around ‘Man Of God’ Pope Francis has once again hit the headlines with a controversial social opinion. In his latest comments, the Argentine Pope has expressed support for parents who spank their children. Pope Francis did, however, assert one important caveat: that the child’s dignity must be maintained. But is that really possible?
During a weekly general mass inside the walls of the hallowed Vatican, Pope Francis began to discuss the issues of fatherhood and responsibility. The pontiff began the discussion by first defining the best kind of father, a man who is always “correct with firmness”.
But his follow-up comments would prove to be more incendiary. “One time, I heard a father in a meeting with married couples say ‘I sometimes have to smack my children a bit, but never in the face so as to not humiliate them.’ How beautiful,” he implored. “He knows the sense of dignity. He has to punish them but does it justly and moves on.”
After this statement, children’s welfare groups and prominent anti-corporal punishment campaigners seized on the opportunity to declare that all forms of violence towards children were unacceptable. Already in damage control, the Church sought to allay fears that the Pope was out of touch.
Rev. Thomas Rosica, who works frequently with the Vatican Press Office, said the comments should not have been interpreted as tacitly approving violence against children. “Who has not disciplined their child or been disciplined by parents when we are growing up?” Rosica told the Guardian via email. “Simply watch Pope Francis when he is with children and let the images and gestures speak for themselves. To infer or distort anything else … reveals a greater problem for those who don’t seem to understand a pope who has ushered in a revolution of normalcy of simple speech and plain gesture.”
It’s a hot button topic, and one that is worth discussing openly and honestly. We’re sure that in the coming days this story will develop, so check back frequently for more info!
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